ECS A890GXM-A - Powerful graphics, native 6 Gbps SATA, great performance, good layout

With no new CPUs to off er, AMD can only add higher speeds, improve efficiency, and off er new connectivity options. To that end, we now have an improved chipset for AMD CPUs to sit on. The 890GX plays into AMD’s Fusion mantra of bringing processing and graphics power together. The IGP is dubbed the Radeon HD 4290. It sticks with DirectX 10.1 rather than 11, but is capable video upscaling and accelerated HD playback (including Flash video). Hybrid Crossfire, which pairs the IGP with a low-end Radeon card, is also supported. The other interesting feature is native support for 6 Gbps SATA 3 on all internal and external SATA ports.

The ECS A890GXM-A was our first 890GX board. Its layout is decent, with no obstructions. The SATA ports are angled to the board’s edge and the primary PCIe slot is well spaced. ECS throws in dual Gigabit LAN ports and 8-channel audio. The rear panel has VGA, DVI, DisplayPort and HDMI outputs, which was a pleasant surprise. There’s no USB 3.0, but the A890GXM-AU model which does have it is also available. You get one eSATA port, but no FireWire. Strangely, there are no serial, parallel, PS/2 or even IDE ports. On the software side, ECS includes eJiff y, its customized quickloading Linux environment for browsing the Web and playing media files.

The A890GXM-A far outshone boards based on its predecessor, the 790GX. PCMark Vantage gave us 8846 points overall, compared to the older platform’s 5675 a year ago. Real-world scores were also competitive, with our audio, video and file compression tasks completing in 52, 21 and 39 seconds respectively. Lowres gaming was decent, and older games should play just fine.

Overall, the ECS A890GXM-A is a solid, all-round board which should help keep things fresh for AMD’s lineup while expanding connectivity and bumping up the standard for onboard graphics.

SONY DSC W380 - HD recording, 5x optical zoom, decent twilight shots

The DSC-W380 is surprisingly light considering that its body is made of metal. It features a brush metal finish and weighs a mere 130 g with battery. As with most Sony cameras, button placement is good and protrudes just enough to allow easy navigation. However, the jog dial would have been better placed towards the edge of the camera body, thereby allowing you to easily switch between modes.

The camera takes a mere 1.5 seconds to power on. Its standout feature is a 24 mm wide angle lens that allows you to capture a major chunk of the subject without having to backtrack too far. The camera also features smile detection. A nice addition is the calendar mode that lets you view images according to the month and date they were taken on.

The DSC-W380 comes with six different modes, with the scene mode itself giving you 11 different scenes. To make things simpler, you can switch to the Intelligent Auto Mode or Easy mode to let the camera decide the best shooting mode.

The DSC-W380 is also capable of capturing 720p video at 30 frames per second, which is very good considering its price and target audience. You can also view captured video on external displays via the cable that is bundled in. The downside here, though, is that Sony claims the W380 can also accommodate SD cards, which is absolutely not true. The camera only features Memory Stick Pro support.

The Sony DSC-W380 does a neat job at handling colors, though there are a few places where they seem a little oversaturated. This camera is not perfect and produces visible noise even at ISO 80. Night performance is not overly impressive, but does a decent job. However, setting it to twilight mode definitely produces better quality pictures and the overall noise is also considerably reduced.

Specifications of SONY DSC W380:
  • Dimensions (WxHxD): 91.7 x 51.9 x 19.7 mm
  • Weight: 130 g
  • Resolution: 14.1 MP
  • Focal length (35mm equiv): 24 - 120 mm
  • Aperture range: f2.4 – f5.9
  • Shutter range: 1 - 1/1600

CANON POWERSHOT S90 - Large aperture (f2), very good low-light quality, RAW mode

It’s been fi ve years since the launch of the PowerShot S80. The PowerShot S90, though, is more than just a redesigned version of its predecessor. The camera off ers functionality and usability that hasn’t been implemented in any S-series camera before it.

The S90 looks like any other compact digital camera around, but comes with a few minor, but helpful, changes. For starters, it comes with a control ring that sits around the lens. The control ring can be used to zoom in and out, or you can assign functions such as ISO, exposure value, focus, and white balance to it. The button placements are typical of any Canon camera, though the jog dial felt too smooth, and with the thumb getting in the way, inadvertent changes in settings are likely when shooting.

The PowerShot S90 comes with a total of 25 shooting modes, with a special scene mode comprising a decent 17 preset scenes. The camera also features a special ‘low light’ mode that lets you take pictures without the need of the fl ash and comes with an ISO sensitivity of an insane 12500.

On the performance front, the PowerShot S90 was just about average and nothing over the top. The camera did tend to liven up the colors a little bit, but didn’t go overboard with it. There is also a visible amount of color bleeding when scaled to a full 100 percent. Overall, image sharpness was pretty ordinary, since objects at a distance appeared faded and washed out. The S90’s USP lies in not only its ability to shoot in RAW, but also in its low light mode that produces very good results even at ISO 5000.

The Canon PowerShot S90 is no SLR alternative, but is just another compact camera with a few extra features. While it does come with a rather hefty high price tag of Rs. 26,995, its overall feature set and good low light image quality help it stand apart.

Specifications of Canon PowerShot S90:
  • Dimensions (WxHxD): 100 x 58.4 x 30.9 mm
  • Weight: 180 g
  • Resolution: 10 MP
  • Focal length (35mm equiv): 28 - 105 mm; Aperture range: f2 – f4.9
  • Shutter range: 15 - 1/1600

LG GT505 - Fluid, Responsive UI, Good Audio Player, Decent Camera

While the LG GT505 is not exactly part of the Cookie budget range, the designing, features and price are nearly identical. The GT505 is an etension of the Cookie range, but hinging towards the pricier end of this spectrum.

Slimmer and lighter than the original KP500 Cookie, this handset has a bit more as far as sophistication parapharnelia is concerned. The 3-inch touchscreen is more responsive, and even though the stylus is not really needed, it exists nevertheless. Docked on one side is a microSD card slot, and on the other is a proprietary all-in-one port meant for the charger, USB and handsfree functions. Also on the same side are the volume/zoom keys, a screen lock, and the shutter release for the 5 MP camera equipped with LED flash.

It is armed with the exact same UI as the Cookie, but to its credit, it's much faster here. The GT505 is also easy on the fingers. Its icons and menus are big enough and can be browsed without the stylus. And like the KP500, the menus have been bunched into four categories, and these make navigating through them very

The full factfi le keyboard is small, but is sharp and responsive after screen calibration. The browser is designed well, but it's kind of tricky to use, and it's the only feature that is a bit of a letdown. The gallery, not really well laid in, just about showcases movies and images in one big pile. You'll have to sort out the files yourself according to type and then hunt for specific files via thumbnail activity.

The music player is great; audio is loud and the clarity is great, and the well laid-out EQ presets add to the overall eff ect. The video player reads MPEG-4 and 3GP fi les quite well. A Muvee application also exists, though it isn't much more than a customizable slide show creator.

Specifications of LG GT505:

  • Dimensions (WxHxD): 107 x 54.5 x 11.8 mm
  • Weight: 98 g
  • Display: 3-inch touch screen
  • Camera: 5 megapixel
  • Memory: microSD
  • Connectivity: WAP, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, USB
  • Rated talk time: 4 hours

Watch the Video of Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 Unboxing at Google IO

Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 Limited Edition has been Reviewed by the Guys at Phandroid at Google IO.

Have a Look at The Specifications of This Tab:
  • Android 3.0 (Honeycomb) with TouchWiz UX UI
  • 1 GHz dual-core processor
  • 16GB or 32GB
  • Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR technology
  • Multi-touch input method
  • Digital compass
  • 8 MP with autofocus and LED flash

Have a Look at The Video: