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CES 2011 - Highs And Lows - Cliff Jones

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Cliff Jones writes:

Highs

BlackBerry PlayBook
The long-awaited BlackBerry PlayBook didn't fail to impress. Although pitched at the business user, it has plenty of entertainment functionality.

What it lacks in game apps it makes up for in what RIM product managers were calling “true multitasking”, where your content, be it video, audio, games or application keeps running in the background while you go open another programme and work productively. In terms of size, it’s more portable than the iPad, and with a uniform thinkness, I would feel more happier carrying this with a stack of books or flinging it into a bag than I would a larger tablet like an iPad. The 7in screen has a resolution of 1024x600, similar to the iPad, but with a higher DPI count than its Apple counterpart, making it appear sharper. Add to that a dual core processor and sturdy build quality and it's a compelling offering.


Motorola Atrix
Like the PlayBook, the Motorola Atrix sports a dual-core processor but this time in an even smaller form factor: a phone. It's pleasing to the eye and the hand, with a battery larger than that of most smartphones. Like the LG Optimus - its “superphone” sibling - it offers functionality beyond its 4in screen form factor, out-punching many of the also-ran tablets we saw at IFA in September. This is where the Atrix switches things up, with a compatible laptop dock which is both a 11.6in screen and keyboard, turning your phone into a netbook running the desktop-emulating WebTop Android app, giving you access to things like a fully fledged Firefox browser. The dock adds three USB ports, dual speakers, additional battery power and a full-sized HDMI port into the mix, making the Atrix a highlight of CES.


Lows


3D almost-everything
The singular disappointment for me was 3D without glasses, and to a lesser extent, 3D itself. Despite filing past screen after screen of Avatar playing in blurryvision I don’t think 3D has found its place on anything other than giant screens. 3D images on a small screen do not provide that immersive experience afford by a movie screen, and trying to do so often produces a blurry image hounded by crosstalk. Call me a traditionalist, but I like my pictures sharp, my popcorn salty and my living room television in 2D. That said, the technology is getting better all the time, and bigger TVs are becoming more affordable, so we will should get there. TrustedReviews recognises the consumer interest in 3D TVs, so we’ll stay with the story. 3D also has some exciting implications for gaming and I was impressed with the capabilities of the Sony Vaio F Series. As for 3D without glasses, I’m wholly underwhelmed, although we’re looking forward to seeing the Nintendo 3DS next week.


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