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Review: Refinements add up in new Mac system

There isn't one thing that jumps out with Apple's new Mac operating system, known as Mavericks - and that's a good thing. Mavericks has plenty of modest refinements that add up to a system well worth the upgrade - even if Apple weren't giving it aw...
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Misc. Mobile Phones

iPad Air vs Lumia 2520 vs Surface 2 vs Galaxy Note 10.1 2014

Apple unveiled the fifth-generation iPad, the iPad Air at a special event on Tuesday. The new iPad Air is much thinner, lighter and sleeker than the previous generation iPad, and packs in the latest hardware - including the 64-bit Apple A7 processor.
 
Interestingly, ailing smartphone maker, Nokia also unveiled its first Windows RT tablet, the Lumia 2520. Microsoft had already refreshed its Surface tablet earlier this year, improving the device's hardware. The 10-inch tablet segment is seeing some action, with Samsung also unveiling the 2014 edition of its Galaxy Note 10.1 tablet. We take a look at what each one of these large tablets brings to the table.

 The new iPad Air sports a 9.7-inch Retina display with a resolution of 2048x1536 pixels and a pixel density of 263ppi. The Nokia Lumia 2520 on the other hand, comes with a 10.1-inch full-HD IPS LCD display with a resolution of 1920x1080 pixels, and a pixel density of 218ppi. The Microsoft Surface 2 tablet comes with a 10.6-inch display with 1920x1080 pixels resolution and 206ppi pixel density. The Galaxy Note 10.1 (2014) tablet features a 10.1-inch WQXGA (2560X1600 pixels) Super clear LCD display and 298ppi pixel density.
 
The Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 (2014) display has a higher resolution and packs in more pixels per inch, followed by the iPad Air, Lumia 2520 and the Surface 2.

The iPad Air is powered by a 64-bit A7 chip which also powers the new iPhone 5s, offering up to two times faster CPU and graphics performance than the previous generation iPad. It also features the M7 motion coprocessor that takes care of measuring motion data from the accelerometer, gyroscope, and compass sensors, sending them to apps without waking up the A7 processor, leading to improved battery life. The Nokia Lumia 2520 is powered by a 2.2GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 processor, while the Surface 2 sports an NVIDIA Tegra 4 (T40) 1.7 GHz Quad Core chip. The Galaxy Note 10.1 2014 Edition in India is powered by a 1.9GHz Exynos 5 Octa processor, while its other variant is powered by a 2.3 GHz quad-core Snapdragon 800 processor, along with 3GB of RAM.
 
It's hard to compare performance since the four tablets run on different platforms but each one comes with the latest hardware specifications.
 
The new iPad Air features a 5-megapixel rear camera and a 1.2-megapixel front facing one. It supports 1080p HD video recording. The Nokia Lumia 2520, on the other hand, features a 6.7-megapixel rear camera and a 2-megapixel front-facing camera. The Surface 2 sports a 5.0-megapixel rear-facing camera and 3.5-megapixel front-facing camera. The Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 2014 Edition boasts of a high-end 8-megapixel rear camera with BSI sensor and autofocus accompanied by an LED flash, and a 2-megapixel BSI sensor.


 We're not sure if everyone uses the camera on a tablet, so a high-end rear camera might not make sense for everyone. The Surface 2's front-camera sensor has the highest resolution. All of the tablets would be good for making video calls.
 
The iPad Air comes in 16GB, 32GB, 64GB and 128GB storage variants, while the Nokia Lumia 2520 comes offers 32GB built-in storage memory expandable via microSD card. The Surface 2 comes in 32GB and 64GB variants and also features a microSD card slot for expansion. The Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 2014 Edition comes in 16GB, 32GB and 64GB built-in storage variants, with a microSD card slot for expansion.
 
Coming to software, the iPad Air runs iOS 7, the latest version of Apple's mobile OS. The Nokia Lumia 2520 and Surface 2 run Windows RT, the tablet optimised stripped down version of Windows. The Galaxy Note 10.1 2014 runs Android 4.3 Jelly Bean.
 
In terms of apps, the iPad Air has an edge over Windows RT and Android based tablets as a large number of iOS apps have been optimised for the iPad. Apple now also offers its iLife and iWork suit of apps free of charge, to new customers, The tablet-specific app scene is pretty dismal on Windows and Android, though the Surface 2 and Nokia Lumia 2520 tablets come with Microsoft Office 2013 RT office apps.
 
It's worth pointing out that barring the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 2014 Edition, none of these tablets are available in India, at this point in time. Samsung launched the Galaxy Note 10.1 2014 Edition, at a price point of Rs. 49,999. The iPad Air starts at $499 and the Lumia 2520 is also priced similarly. The Surface 2 starts at $449.

ipadair-vs-rest.jpg

Misc. Mobile Phones

iPad mini with Retina display vs Nexus 7 2013 vs Kindle Fire HDX 7

Apple announced an all new iPad mini on Tuesday, upgrading it with a high resolution Retina display. The compact version of its popular tablet will start selling November 1 onwards in 41 countries, at a starting price of $399.
 
Following the upgrade, the iPad mini with Retina display now competes head to head with Google's Nexus 7 (2013) and Amazon's Kindle Fire HDX, as all the tablets come with an HD screen. Of course the tablets sport different hardware and run different operating systems but they fall into the compact tablet category.
 
The Apple iPad mini with Retina display sports a 7.9-inch Retina display with a resolution of 2048x1536 pixels (just like its elder iPad sibling) and a pixel density of 326ppi. The Nexus 7 (2013) on the other hand, comes with a 7-inch full-HD display with a resolution of 1920x1200 pixels, and a pixel density of 323ppi. The Kindle Fire HDX 7 tablet also comes with 7-inch display with 1920x1200 pixels resolution and 323ppi pixel density. The new iPad mini has a higher resolution but then it comes with a bigger screen, so the effective pixels per inch on the screen are just marginally higher compared to the other tablets.

 The iPad mini with Retina display is powered by a 64-bit A7 chip which also powers the new iPhone 5s, offering up to four times faster CPU and up to eight times faster graphics performance than the previous generation iPad mini. It also features the M7 motion coprocessor that takes care of measuring motion data from the accelerometer, gyroscope, and compass sensors, sending them to apps without waking up the A7 processor, leading to improved battery life. The Nexus 7(2013) is powered by a quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 processor clocked at 1.5GHz, and features 2GB of RAM.
 
The Kindle Fire HDX 7 is powered by a 2.2GHz quad-core Snapdragon 800 processor alongside 2GB of RAM. Barring the iPad mini with Retina display, no other tablet in this segment features a 64-bit processor. It's another thing that most tablet apps are still not designed to leverage the potential of the 64-bit processor but this particular attribute makes the new iPad mini more future proof compared to the rest of the lot. It's hard to compare performance since the three tablets run on different platforms but each one comes with the latest hardware specifications.
 
The new iPad mini with Retina display features a 5-megapixel rear camera and a 1.2-megapixel front facing one. It supports 1080p HD video recording. The Nexus 7 (2013) also features a 5-megapixel rear camera and a 1.2-megapixel front-facing camera. The Kindle Fire HDX 7 only sports a front-facing HD camera (unspecified megapixel count). We're not sure if everyone uses the camera but consumers are more likely to capture images and video with compact tablets compared to their bigger counterparts but all of the three tablets are good for making video calls.

kindle-fire-hdx-7-big.jpg The iPad mini with Retina display comes in 16GB, 32GB, 64GB and 128GB storage variants, while the Nexus 7(2013) comes in 16GB and 32GB variants. The Kindle Fire HDX 7 comes in 16GB, 32GB, 64GB storage variants. The iPad mini with Retina display is available in both Wi-Fi only and Wi-Fi plus Cellular data models. Only the 32GB Nexus 7(2013) supports cellular data with Wi-Fi, while the 16GB option supports only Wi-Fi connectivity. Both storage variants of the Kindle Fire HDX 7 tablets are available in Wi-Fi only and Wi-Fi plus LTE versions.
 
Coming to software, the iPad mini with Retina display runs iOS 7, the latest version of Apple's mobile OS, while the Nexus 7 runs Android 4.3 Jelly Bean, which is expected to receive a new update, Android 4.4 KitKat in the coming days. The Kindle Fire HDX 7 runs the new Fire OS 3.0 based on Android Jelly Bean. In terms of apps, the iPad mini has an edge over Android based tablets as a large number of iOS apps have been optimised for the iPad. The tablet-specific app scene is pretty dismal on the Android side. The Kindle Fire HDX is closely integrated with Amazon's content ecosystem. So, if you're a voracious reader and download ebooks, the Kindle Fire HDX is a great companion.
 
It's worth pointing out that none of these tablets are available in India, at this point in time.

ipadmini-retina-vs-others-table2.jpg

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