The week in gadgets: gaming accessories, sapphire for smartphones and Retina display issues

25 Mar 2013

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Logitech's G430 Surround Sound Gaming Headset and G700s Rechargeable Gaming Mouse

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A look at gadget happenings, as Logitech announces a new line-up of G-series computer gaming accessories, Canon has two new compact cameras hitting the market, an analyst makes a good argument for sapphire smartphone displays, and the new MacBook Pro suffers from Retina display problems.

Logitech’s redesigned G-series

Logitech has altered its approach to PC gaming with six redesigned mice and keyboards and two new headsets for its G-series line-up, which will be available in May. These products have been developed using infrared technology to study how gamers’ hands interact with their devices during gameplay and the result improved durability and comfort, and the addition of fingerprint-resistant and hydrophobic coatings to specific tactile zones discovered via these tests.

The keys on the G19s and G510s Gaming Keyboards have been given double UV coatings for extra durability and long life, while low-friction feet on the mice helps to reduce drag and Delta Zero technology in the G100s (€39.99) and G400s Optical Gaming Mice (€59.99) improve accuracy.

This range also includes the G700s Rechargeable Gaming Mouse (€99.99), a wireless edition that claims to have the report rate of a wired mouse. Users have 13 programmable controls with this mouse and can easily switch from wireless to charging using the micro-USB cable during gameplay.

As well as mice and keyboards, there’s the new G430 Surround Sound Gaming Headset (€79.99) powered by Dolby Headphone 7.1 surround sound technology for an immersive 360-degree sound field, hearing what you can’t see. Attached is a noise-cancelling microphone that can be easily folded up and put away when not in use, while the ear cups are covered in a soft, washable material.

Two new PowerShots from Canon

While the US market got a super-compact DSLR from Canon this week, two new PowerShot SX compacts were revealed for the UK and Ireland. The HS system on these new models features Canon’s new Digic 6 image processor technology, which claims to capture up to 30pc more detail, as well as a 12.1MP high-sensitivity CMOS sensor.

Canon PowerShot SX270 HS

Canon PowerShot SX270 HS

Both the PowerShot SX270 HS and PowerShot SX280 HS come with a 25mm wide-angle lens equipped with a four-stop optical image stabiliser and 20x optical zoom (extendable to 40x using ZoomPlus technology). They record video in full-HD (1,920 x 1,080) at up to 60fps and with stereo sound.

Canon PowerShot SX270 HS

Canon PowerShot SX280 HS

Each new PowerShot also features a 3-inch PureColor II G LCD with a layer of tempered glass for added durability. Seemingly, the only difference between the two is that the SX280 is both Wi-Fi and GPS-enabled, and automatically tags photos and videos with the local time and location.

Sapphire for smartphone screens

A report from MIT Technology Review last week provides a good argument for sapphire screens on smartphones from Yole Développement analyst Eric Virey. Manufactured sapphire is both incredibly strong and scratch-resistant and is already used as transparent armour on military vehicles and as a lens cover for the iPhone 5’s iSight camera.

Virey sees manufacturers like Apple using sapphire in larger amounts to protect smartphone displays. This would make them three times stronger and three times more scratch-resistant than Corning’s Gorilla Glass, the current favourite durable display. However, the cost is about 10 times more. But with the price dropping and predicted to continue to fall, Virey doesn’t see why future high-end smartphones would shy away from this highly durable component.

Retina display is not all it’s cracked up to be

Anyone considering investing in one of Apple’s latest MacBook Pros with Retina display technology would do well to read 9to5Mac’s report on its many issues first. The feature documents a litany of problems with the high-resolution display, including image retention, which seems to come from those manufactured by LG (though the Samsung-made displays are not without complaint).

15-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display

15-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display

A class-action lawsuit has been filed in California alleging that Apple is keeping these issues under wraps from consumers, while 9to5Mac’s report claims that Apple’s retail and repair staff are equally as uninformed as consumers in terms of the display issues, with no guidelines in place for dealing with them or even telling if the computer’s parts are from LG or Samsung. An account from one customer says he had his display replaced three times since November last year.

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Elaine Burke is managing editor of Siliconrepublic.com

editorial@siliconrepublic.com