The week in gadgets

21 May 2012

A look at gadget happenings, as one start-up leapfrogs the competition in motion control, and both Sony and Dell unveil new sleek and powerful laptop models.

Motion control takes a great Leap forward

While the Nintendo Wii and Microsoft’s Kinect for Xbox 360 have made us all familiar with motion control, San Franciscan start-up Leap Motion appear to have nailed it with the launch of The Leap, a new technology that could eliminate the need for hardware in operating a computer.

This small device that fits in the palm of your hand can be connected to your computer via USB, giving you access to a three-dimensional interaction space wherein you can control and navigate what’s on screen using gestures. Leap Motion claim that their software is 200 times more accurate than any other product on the market and CNET reports that it can detect motion as subtle as a finger-flick.

Leap Motion are currently accepting applications for their software development kit from developers who are excited to get to grips with this new technology, and pre-orders of the device are also being taken for a mere US$70.


Sony’s new Vaio E Series and S Series laptops

Hot on the heels of the launch of its first series of ultrabooks, Sony has also made new additions to its notebook range. The Vaio E Series (pictured below) now includes the E Series 15 and E Series 17, with screens measuring 15.5in and 17.3in, respectively. These easy-to-use laptops are intended for hassle-free multimedia computing, perfect for families and students. A new-look wraparound design makes for soft, rounded corners, encasing an Intel Core i5-2450M processor, 6GB memory, 750GB hard drive and AMD Radeon HD graphics.

Sony Vaio E Series

The more lightweight S Series 13 and S Series 15 (pictured below) come in 13.3in and 15.5in screen sizes. Made from tough, weight-saving materials, both come in under the 2kg mark, packing in a 500GB hard drive, slot-in optical drive, optional SSD storage, NVIDIA GeForce graphics, and an optional sheet battery for extended power. Best of all, the powerful S Series comes with an Intel Ivy Bridge processor, and high-speed LTE/3G WWAN mobile broadband on select models.Sony Vaio S Series

All of the latest models come with rapid start-up, an ultra-low-power sleep mode, large multi-gesture touchpad, xLOUD and Clear Phase audio technologies, and Windows 7. The E Series laptops start at €499, while the starting price for an S Series model is €999.

Serious gamers can rejoice in Dell Alienware’s immersive technology

More in laptop news sees Dell’s latest Alienware models built to offer a highly immersive gaming experience. How? Well, with NVIDIA GeForce, AMD Radeon HD graphics cards, Creative Sound Blaster audio chipset with THX 7.1 digital surround sound, and Klipsch-branded speakers, of course!

These high-performance gaming laptops are powered by Ivy Bridge processor and Intel’s Turbo Boost 2.0 technologies, and come with a host of features built to enhance and improve the gaming experience, such as AlienAdrenaline, which allows users to create customised shortcuts.

The M14x comes with up to 16GB of memory, with up to 32GB for the M17x, while the M18x (pictured below) can come with a whopping 750GB, plus 4GB of GDDR5 graphics memory, all housed in a stylish, anodised aluminium shell.

The M14x, M17x and M18x are available now starting from €999, €1,299 and €1,799, respectively.

Dell Alienware M18x

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Elaine Burke is the host of For Tech’s Sake, a co-production from Silicon Republic and The HeadStuff Podcast Network. She was previously the editor of Silicon Republic.