The week in gadgets: doggy directors, a Toshiba hybrid, and a boost for premium cameras

7 May 2013

Toshiba Portégé Z10t

A look at gadget happenings, as Toshiba launches its first hybrid ultrabook, Sony’s Action Cam gets a pet-friendly accessory, and consumers opt for high-priced but high-quality cameras.

Toshiba mixes it up with the Portégé Z10t

Coming to Ireland in Q2 2013 is Toshiba’s first detachable ultrabook, the Portégé Z10t. The Windows 8 Pro ultrabook’s full-HD 11.6-inch touchscreen display can be completely separated from the full-sized keyboard to become a tablet when required.

As a laptop, you’ll have backlit keys and a multi-touch touchpad with Accupoint input, while in tablet mode the Portégé Z10t becomes a fully responsive 10-finger touchscreen digital notepad, complete with an optional DigitizerPen and handwriting recognition to convert your scrawl to editable text.

Toshiba Portégé Z10t

All of this is powered by the latest Intel Core processor and comes with SSD storage, ports for USB 3.0, HDMI and RGB displays, and a range of security solutions from Toshiba and Intel. Aimed at the mobile working professional, the Portégé Z10t can keep users connected via Wi-Fi, Gigabit LAN, HSPA or LTE.

Sony’s Action Cam gets a dog’s eye view

New accessories for Sony’s HDR-AS15, better known as the Action Cam, include a high-vis float so you don’t lose your device to the watery depths, a three-axis ball head for capturing footage from all angles, a skeleton frame for easier tripod mounting, a wrist-mount strap with a rotating base for 16 shooting positions, and a surfboard mount with four adhesive flats to bond securely with the contours of a surfboard plus a tilt mechanism and a leash cord to stop it from getting away when catching waves.

Sony Action Cam HDR-AS15 with surfboard mount

The new Sony Action Cam surfboard mount in action

But the accessory we’re most intrigued by is the new AKA-DM1 – a dog harness. Built for medium to large-sized dogs, this lightweight adjustable harness can be strapped onto man’s best friend for a closer look into a dog’s life.

Sony Action Cam HDR-AS15 with the AKA-DM1 dog harness

The Sony Action Cam HDR-AS15 with the AKA-DM1 dog harness

These Action Cam accessories will be available from June 2013, along with a firmware update that registered users can download for free. This update will add full-HD 1080p recording at 60fps, underwater mode to adjust white balance when immersed, and choice of beep modes for audible feedback of recording and other functions.

Snap happy consumers opt for quality over economy

According to GfK Ireland, high-priced cameras saw healthy growth in sales in Q1 2013. In this period, fixed-lens camers priced from €350 to €400 grew in sales volume by 15pc, while SLRs costing more than €1,600 grew 22pc.

Seeing as just about every smartphone offers decent point-and-shoot photography on the go these days, consumers are likely looking for high quality when it comes to a dedicated camera.

GfK also notes significant growth in the action camera market, which grew by 165pc in March of this year, doubling in value.

Pocket-sized 30x zoom

Speaking of premium cameras, available this month from Sony is the Cyber-shot DSC-HX50. The compact 272g camera offers an extensive 30x zoom along with its 20.4MP Exmor R CMOS sensor, BIONZ processor and Optical SteadyShot camera shake compensation.

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX50

The HX50 also shoots  full-HD video and Wi-Fi and GPS functionality are built in. If you’d rather use a viewfinder than the 3-inch TFT LCD, compatible accessories can be attached using the multi-interface shoe. The HX50’s X-type lithium-ion battery, though smaller than its predecessors, promises 400 photos from a single charge.

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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.