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Gadget Guru April 2013

Published

Dell Goes Big
While most tablet makers are going smaller, Dell is staying the course with its new 18.4-inch XPS 18 touch screen. A 1080p display at that size is considerable, and with the included stand, and attachable Bluetooth keyboard and mouse, this one of the few tablets on the market that doubles as a portable computer should you desire to tote around the peripherals. Or pick and choose (plastic feet flip out to create a stand, or just use it flat on its back.) A $50 dock is sold separately, along with other goodies. For a price comparable to the latest 64gig ipad, you get a dual-core Pentium ULV and a 320GB hard drive, a Core i7 CPU, 8GB of RAM and a whopping 512GB SSD. That’s a half a terabyte in a 4-pound tablet, which is very impressive. The XPS 18 will no doubt turn some heads when it hits shelves this month for $900. (www.dell.com)

 
Just Breathe
Every once in a while a very inexpensive gadget pops up that we feel should be mentioned, and the new Breathometer fits that bill. According to a 2011 study by Insurance.com, San Diego gives out more DUI tickets than any other city in America. Yes, San Diego, is (or at least was) numero uno, no doubt due to a lack of practical public transit. A tall glass of wine is all you need to lose months of your life and tens of thousands of dollars. Or, you could get the Breathometer, a new FDA-approved gadget that plugs into the headphone jack of an Android or iOS device and reveals your blood alcohol level.  The gadget’s designers say the device will eventually call a cab for you as well. The Breathometer is a couple months out from hitting shelves (it will be available this summer), but it’s worth getting in line for one now. It’s small enough to fit on your keychain, and San Fran-based Indiegogo.com is asking for just $20 to get one, as long as you sign their pledge to drink and drive responsibly. (www.breathometer.com)

 
Back in Motion
Blackberry was top dog on the block for a few years, until the iPhone and Android Galaxy phones popped up. Blackberry’s users stayed loyal, loving that physical qwerty keyboard, but Blackberry’s maker, Research in Motion (RIM)struggled to stay relevant as touch screens proved more practical,  ultimately slinking back into the shadows to regroup. Now RIM’s back with the all new Blackberry Z10, which was just released a couple weeks ago. Gone is the staple physical keyboard, replaced with the now familiar touch screen keyboard, but a multilingual one at that, allowing users to type in three different languages at once. Like RIM’s past offerings, the Z10 is designed for the business person, with tons of office related software, a Secure Work Space feature that keeps corporate and personal data separate, a screen design set up for single hand use—including swiping keyboards and Peek gesturing— and of course, security measures that rival Fort Knox. Yes, it’ll offer games and multimedia as well, but the Z10’s real wow factor is in how much time (and hence money) its office-related programs could save you. $200 and up depending on model. (www.blackberry.com)      RYAN THOMAS

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