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Sunday, 4 December 2011

2011 Jacky's Festive Guide

With an action-packed end to the year, we've been getting all sorts of requests with regards what would be our picks during this festive season here at Jacky's, so we decided to do a festive gadget guide of our own.  Before we get into our recommendations, we'd also like to remind you to ensure you dispose of your products responsibly.  At Jacky's for example, we have our Eco-Exchange program, wherein you can recycle used phones, cameras, gaming consoles and laptops.  Everything traded-in under our Eco-Exchange program is re-used or recycled and nothing ends up in a landfill.  If you want to set an example for the next generation, then we request you to please think of your environment when buying your next set of festive toys.

We hope you find our shopping guide useful and look forward to your feedback on it.

Acer S3 Ultrabook

A lot has been said about the Ultrabook category since we first it at GITEX Shopper's this year and till now, demand has far outstripped supply at our retail outlets.  Acer has been the first brand to market the ultrabook in this region and has had thus had the first mover advantage.  

Image courtesy: engadget.com, photographed is the
Core i7 variant of the Acer S3
What makes an ultrabook unique is the fact that it is designed to be super slim (like the Macbook Air) except that it runs on Windows 7.  For people who don't want to make the switch to Apple but want an ultra-slim notebook that switches on instantly, the S3 Ultrabook is the product for you.

There are various models of the Ultrabook, but our pick would be the model with an Intel Core i5 processor, 13.3" LED screen, 4GB RAM and 240GB SSD.  This model typically retails for Dhs. 5,299, though there are some variations of the S3 Ultrabook that retail for as low as Dhs. 3,599.

An SSD for those who aren't sure is an alternative to a conventional hard disk that we're used to normally having in most notebooks and PC's.  An SSD is uses flash memory similar to what is used in most MP3 players and smartphones today.  SSD's are normally more stable than conventional hard disks.

Dyson Air Multiplier 

Dyson have always been known for having cool products and their bladeless fan is no exception.  If you ever thought a simple fan wouldn't be able to grab your attention, then you are indeed mistaken.  The Air Multiplier works using a motor that's in the base of the fan which can suck in air and push it up into the ring.  There are tiny, millimeter long slits which the air rushes out of which are designed to push air out uniformly around the ring.  If you ever wanted to get someone a housewarming present, this would be the one to get.  Prices range from Dhs. 1,299 to Dhs. 1,899.

Apple iPad 2

Image: cnet.com.au
Nearly two years after Apple basically introduced the tablet category to the world, they still run supreme with their tablet offering.  The user-experience and variety of apps that are available for Apple still make it a must-have product.  For those who've never owned a tablet before, it's never too late and no matter whether you're talking about a child who's just a few years old or a grand parent who's never used a computer before, the ease of use of the iPad, makes it the perfect gift during the festive season.  Prices vary based on capacity (16, 32 and 6GB) and connectivity (Wifi or 3G + Wifi).  The iPad 2 is also available in two colors, white and black.

Samsung 8.9" Galaxy Tab

Image: slashgear.com
The only major brand that's managed to dent Apple's sales overall in tablets in this region has been Samsung.  Starting initially with a 7" model, Samsung added various products to ensure they had a portfolio of tablets in different sizes.  The 8.9" is probably our pick of the lot as it doesn't feel too small in your hands when you're browsing a website or watching a movie and still remains handy enough to carry around.  The Galaxy Tab is different from the Apple tablets in that it runs on the Android operating system and thus ties you into Google's ecosystem.  It has a better camera than the iPad 2 (three megapixels) and can accommodate an SD card in case you want to increase the memory on your tablet as the standard model comes with 16GB memory but you can expand it by 32GB using an SD card.  

BlackBerry Bold 9900

Image: engadget.com
The market leader in the UAE for smartphones is BlackBerry and it's no surprise that the Bold 9900 was an instant hit from the moment we launched it in August of this year.  It's running on the latest version of RIM's operating system, boasts a wider screen, faster processor and superior camera.  The stand out feature of this device though is the fact that apart from a bigger keyboard, it also has a touch screen that makes surfing the web or accessing apps on the phone that much quicker.  There is also a new BlackBerry Curve that was recently introduced that boasts the new operating system and touchscreen capabilities but the Bold 9900 still remains our pick within the BlackBerry line-up (to see a more detailed review we did on the Bold 9900, please click here).

Samsung Galaxy Note

Image: guardian.co.uk
Is it a phone or is it a tablet?  This is the question we asked ourselves when we first saw this device at the Samsung stand at GITEX Shopper's.  Since then, Samsung has gone ahead and answered this question for us and said it's a smartphone.  Boasting a massive 5.3" screen, this Android-powered device looks like a bigger version of Samsung's hugely successful Galaxy SII smartphone.  It has super sleek, has an extremely quick interface and packs in the power as far as camera (8 megapixel with flash), processor (dual-core 1.4 Ghz) &  network connectivity go (HSPA+ with supported speeds of 21 mbps).  It also has a little stylus that pops out of the phone so if you want to take notes the old-fashioned way, you can still write them down.  This is a phone that makes a statement wherever you take it and if you want to be noticed this festive season, this may be the device for you.

Nokia N9

2011 has been a year re-emergence for Nokia.  After taking the decision at the beginning of the year to start partnering with Microsoft on their next generation of smartphones, Nokia surprised everyone with this phone that runs on the MEEGO operating system.  More fundamental than the operating system is the philosophy that Nokia has adopted on this device which Nokia hopes changes the way we use our smartphone.  Apple for all intensive purposes changed the accepted norms of what we'd expect from a smartphone when they launched their  iPhones but Nokia has again challenged this by deciding to drop the concept of a home or back button.  The N9 fundamentally works off three screens and the belief at Nokia is that you need three screens to run your phone that you can swipe to and from.  If you're curious what Nokia has in-store with Windows Phone 7 in the future, the N9 is a good indication of that and we hope many of the fundamental shifts that Nokia has implemented on the N9 will carry forward into the devices we see coming in 2012.

Apple iPhone 4S
Image: apple.com

The hope is that Apple announces the launch of the iPhone 4S via their authorized partners, du and etisalat, before the year is out.  This is good news if you're a die-hard Apple fan or someone who's been delaying buying an iPhone because you were waiting for this to be officially launched in the UAE.  When it'll launch is still a mystery, what price it'll launch at is still a mystery but what we do know, is that when it launches, it'll no doubt be one of the most successful products for us this festive season and we don't require Apple's digital assistant, Siri, to tell us that.

Posted By: Mahesh Chotrani, Head - Retail Buying and Ashish Panjabi, Chief Operating Officer, Jacky's Electronics