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Image Matrix Tech on Sky News: VR Workrooms – Acer 3D – iPhone PAL

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In Sunday’s segment on Sky News Australia (Weekend Edition with Tim Gilbert) we revealed Facebook’s new VR meeting system Horizon Workrooms.

Using the Oculus Quest 2 headset the remote work solution allows for a high level of productivity – not just a virtual reality chatroom.

It’s a free beta right now but from what’s we’ve seen so far – it’s going to be used in business.

For creators Acer has developed a 3D system that shows work-in-progress without glasses.

Using the ConceptD notebook and stereoscopic cameras, Acer’s SpatialLabs renders 3D images a few centimetres out from the laptop screen.

And a little-know update to Apple’s iPhone is helping users overcome flicker in their video recordings.

In December last year Apple added support for PAL, the TV system used in Australia, NZ, Europe and many other regions – not the US.

In this segment we quick demonstrate the benefits of shooting in 25p. A very rare choice in native camera apps.

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ASUS

ASUS Zenbook Duo Proves Dual Screen Laptops Are the Future

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Generally speaking, I think there are four types of laptops. The very limited ultra-thin portable, all-rounder, big beefy gaming or production laptop and two-in-one type device with heaps of compromises. But it’s within that last category I find the most promising of all.

The Dual Screen laptop.

The ASUS Zenbook Duo is the latest example of a mobile desktop without the clutter. I gave Lenovo’s Yoga Book 9i EVO my top award for 2023 but as I told Tim Gilbert on Sky News Australia in the video above, this ASUS model is something else.

Let’s look at some key specs.

Design: Dual 14″ 3K 120 Hz ASUS Lumina OLED 16:10 touchscreens in a 1.35 kg ultraportable device create a 19.8″ visual workspace. Kickstand plus Bluetooth keyboard/trackpad.

Versatile: multiple modes, including dual screen, laptop, desktop, and sharing 

Performer: Intel® Core™ Ultra 9 processor; premium audiovisual experience; 2 x Thunderbolt™ 4, USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-A, HDMI® 2.1 (TMDS)

AI: Content creation with responsive, upgraded graphics, a processor with integrated AI acceleration, and Windows Copilot

Available now: The ASUS Zenbook Duo is available from ASUS and JB Hi-Fi and other retailers for A$3,999

Once you get it, you’ll never look at another standard laptop the same way again. Once I starting using this form factor I was quickly won over by the extra screen real estate. It gave me the sense of using a travelling desktop without the bulk.

The ASUS design team made some clever choices with this model. The rechargeable keyboard can be detached to allow full use of the visual workspace or be placed on the lower display for a traditional clamshell laptop experience. The pogo-pin connectors on the edge of the lower screen ensure hassle-free docking, with auto-positioning magnets on the pogo pins and corners of the second screen to further enhance the overall user experience.

It comes in pretty light too at just 1.35 kilos. The dual full-size 3K 120 Hz ASUS Lumina OLED 16:10 displays can be moved into a flat position thanks to the 180° hinge. The visual workspace increases to a quite large 19.8 inches. This can be used in vertical or horizontal orientations for a number of versatile user modes — Laptop, Dual Screen, Desktop, or Sharing — controlled by ASUS ScreenXpert software. 

The ASUS Lumina OLED displays are gorgeous. They are Dolby Vision certified, Pantone Validated and have a cinema-grade 100% DCI-P3 colour gamut. They are also VESA DisplayHDR True Black 500 certified for the deepest black levels and have 120Hz Motion Clarity for more frames per second, improving the display for fast-moving and smooth visuals.

When it comes to power under the bonnet, ASUS has impressed with an Intel Core Ultra 9 processor with an integrated Neural Processing Unit (NPU) for AI acceleration, up to 32 GB of LPDDR5x memory, up to a 1 TB PCIe® 4.0 SSD, a long-lifespan 75 Wh battery, and a Harman Kardon-certified Dolby Atmos® audio system. 

The ScreenXpert software is intuitive and allows easy control of the display contents in all modes:

Dual Screen mode: When used with the wireless keyboard, this mode provides 19.8 inches of screen real estate, which can be used as a single expansive screen via the ViewMax feature. Alternatively, the twin 16:10 displays can be used independently, with easy window management via the App Switcher feature that puts users in full fingertip control of app windows, reducing interruptions and helping users maintain focus on the task at hand.

Desktop mode: The laptop can be used with the hinge aligned vertically for side-by-side portrait screens. Combined with the wireless keyboard, this makes it perfect for programmers, researchers, writers, and those who need access to large data worksheets for things like financial analysis — and many more. Users can display productivity apps on one screen while the other shows reference materials, documentation, or research sources. Alternatively, using the ViewMax feature they can display content across the entire screen width, giving them a massive 19.8-inch display.

Laptop mode: Users can place the ASUS ErgoSense Bluetooth keyboard and touchpad onto the lower display for a traditional laptop-style experience, replete with a 14-inch display and tall 16:10 aspect ratio. A pogo-pin connector automatically recharges the keyboard. Alternatively, the lower screen can be configured as a full-size virtual keyboard if required, so users don’t have to travel with the keyboard if space is tight.

Sharing mode: Allows easy content sharing in meetings and business presentations. The 180° hinge allows the screens to lay flat so everyone can view the screen without having to huddle around, fostering better engagement and discussion. Additionally, content on the upper screen can be rotated by 180° if needed. 

For video calling, the ASUS AiSense camera with Windows Studio Effects such as, background blur, eye contact correction, automatic framing and ASUS 3DNR. Two-way AI Noise Cancellation leverages a deep-learning database to reduce background noise for the microphone and audio.

FINAL THOUGHTS

The biggest frustration for me when computing, is lack of multiple screens. I’m not talking about one big screen, I mean multiple. I want my content separated on different displays at home, the office or on the road. But I don’t want to be carrying a stack of portable monitors with me and powered hubs.

So that’s why I love these dual screen laptops so much. They are light and compact yet powerful enough to get most tasks done – with two screens.

ASUS has done a fantastic job here with the ASUS Zenbook Duo and I can’t wait to see how this category develops.

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Apple

You can Already Order Apple’s New MacBook Air with M3 Chip

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Apple is rolling out new models of its wildly popular MacBook Air with M3 Chip in 13-inch and 15-inch versions. These laptops are powerful enough for most people on the planet, with the looks and battery life to match.

“MacBook Air is our most popular and loved Mac, with more customers choosing it over any other laptop. And today it gets even better with the M3 chip and new capabilities,” said Greg Joswiak, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing.

“From college students pursuing their degrees, to business users who need powerful productivity, or anyone who simply wants the unmatched combination of performance, portability, and industry-leading battery life, all in a fanless design, the new MacBook Air continues to be the world’s best thin and light laptop.”

13-inch MacBook Air with M3 next to 15-inch version

You’ll obviously get far better performance than the M1 model (60 per cent faster), faster Wi-Fi 6E, and support for two external displays but there’s a catch. You can only use two external displays when the laptop lid is closed. This won’t be a problem for most people using it in a dual-display office setup. But if you were hoping to operate three screens, including the laptop display, you’re out of luck.

The new MacBook Air M3 models support two external displays when lid is closed

All Macs, even the ‘entry level’ models can do what equivalent PCs can’t. And that’s edit video competently. Video editing in Final Cut Pro is up to 60 per cent faster than the 13-inch model with the M1 chip, and up to 13x faster for those still using Intel chips.

No problem editing 4K video with the MacBook Air with M3

The 8-core CPU, up to a 10-core GPU, and support for up to 24GB of unified memory is built to handle the demands of AI. M3 includes a faster and more efficient 16-core Neural Engine, along with accelerators in the CPU and GPU to boost on-device machine learning, making it AI ready.

The MacBook Air features a 13.6 or 15.3-inch Liquid Retina display with up to 500 nits of brightness and support for 1 billion colours.

The 2024 MacBook Air models are ready to order

Pricing and Availability

  • Customers can order the new MacBook Air with M3 starting Tuesday, 5 March, on apple.com/au/store and in the Apple Store app in 28 countries and regions, including Australia. It will begin arriving to customers, and will be in Apple Store locations and Apple Authorised Resellers, starting Friday, 8 March.
  • The 13-inch MacBook Air with M3 starts at RRP A$1,799 inc. GST and RRP A$1,649 inc. GST for education, and the 15‑inch MacBook Air with M3 starts at RRP A$2,199 inc. GST and RRP A$1,999 inc. GST for education. Both are available in midnight, starlight, silver, and space grey.
  • The 13-inch MacBook Air with M2, available in midnight, starlight, silver, and space grey, now starts at RRP A$1,599 inc. GST and RRP A$1,439 inc. GST for education.
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ASUS

Best Tech of 2023 – No Phones

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As we enter a new year let’s take a look at the consumer tech that impressed (outside phones) over the previous 12 months. We saw better cameras, laptops, power stations, security cameras, kitchen devices, TVs plus robots for vacuuming, mopping, mowing, pools and windows. So many robots!

Here are just a few standouts I included in Sunday’s New Year’s Eve segment with Tim Gilbert on Sky News Weekend Edition.

BEST CAMERA DEVICE: DJI OSMO POCKET 3

DJI OSMO Pocket 3 is unique

The DJI Osmo Pocket 3 was the most innovative camera of the year. I own the previous versions of this camera and have always enjoyed using them. But this third version is a massive leap forward in handheld gimbal camera technology.

DJI sent through the Creator Combo kit for review and I’ve not put it down since. I’ve actually ordered one.

You can read more about it here.

I’m a Mac user for most of my creative work but I thought I would include a couple of Windows laptops in this list as they dominate the market. So here we go.

BEST LAPTOP (ALL ROUNDER) – LENOVO YOGA BOOK 9i EVO

Lenovo Yoga Book 9i EVO offer dual-screen without the hassle

Now, although this is a 2-in-1 laptop I think it’s cracking laptop, full stop. The Lenovo Yoga Book 9i EVO opens up to reveal two 13.3 inch OLED touchscreens. So it looks awesome when both displays are running.

Running an Intel Core i7 1355U 10 core processor (3.7- 5.0GHz) I found the 9i EVO a joy to operate. Although not a creator’s machine, I was able to use it on planes, hotels and in cars for all of my daily needs. This included video editing with DaVinci Resolve and photo editing with Photoshop.

The execution of the dual display UI is excellent. Using it with the supplied Bluetooth keyboard and pen-enabled a two-screen office display without a large footprint.

You can turn it sideways for two portrait screens (side-by-side) or you can use it like a tablet, fold it over so you have screens front and back or you can combine both screens to have one large display.

The clever use of the on-screen keyboard can really save the day. By tapping 8 fingers at once you’ll bring up the virtual keyboard (three fingers for trackpad) and you’ll be typing away.

Despite the two internal screens the notebook is very slim. I think this is why I love it so much. The whole package fits neatly into a laptop back or sleeve, then expands into massive workstation, anywhere!

I just spotted it here on special.

BEST LAPTOP (FOR CREATORS) – ASUS PROART STUDIOBOOK 16-OLED

ASUS ProArt Studiobook 16 OLED is a creator’s workhorse

I used the ProArt Studiobook 16 OLED for several months and I really loved it. It’s a big unit but when you open it up that 16-inch 3.2K 120 Hz OLED touchscreen hits you between the eyes. It’s just beautiful.

The main task I had for this Windows laptops was video editing using DaVinci Resolve. I was happy to see the laptop cruise through a lot of demanding 4K work. It’s worth noting that in Resolve I use a 1080P timeline before switching to 4K and exporting at the original resolution. The difference between using the NVIDIA® GeForce RTX 4070 graphics and software for encoding was vast. Overall I didn’t notice too much of a difference when editing video and photos when compared to Mac.

With a 13th Gen Intel® Core i9 HX processor, 64GB of memory and 2TB of storage, the ProArt was fast at everything. There was plenty of I/O – thunderbolt, USB-A, SD Card reader, HDMI and more.

The ASUS Dial looks like a bit of gimmick so I didn’t start using it until late in the review. Turns out, it’s actually pretty useful. You can use it like a jog wheel in DaVinci Resolve or flick through tabs in a browser with your left hand. I also started to use it in Photoshop.

It’s on special right now so be quick.

BEST ROBOT VACUUM – DREAMEBOT L20 ULTRA

All the top brands Ecovacs, Roborock and Dreame have smart mopping technology but Dreame stood out in 2023 due to its innovated mopping features.

It has something new. A mop that kicks out to clean against the walls. Not only that – the L20 Ultra can leave the mopping pads behind in the base station to ensure there’s no contact with carpet. Note: It does raise the mops in normal operation – higher than most. It will also clean and dry the mops in the base station. Very cool.

BEST GAMING MONITOR: LG OLED FLEX

Watch the LG OLED Flex in action

The LG OLED Flex 42″ gives you a curved screen, immersive experience and a standard straight viewing experience. The monitor behind me during this segment is a 42″ flex. So it starts out straight then curves with the press of the remote. It can be adjusted up to a 900R curve and gradations in between, along 20 incremental settings.

Normally I have three screens in my studio. Each a different size and type. But with the LG Flex – I can have one large monitor to do the same job.

Up close this looks insane.

The reason for his is immersive gaming. The OLED Flex also features G-SYNC® Compatibility and AMD FreeSync™, enhancing gaming visuals without tearing, stuttering or input lag.

It also supports Dolby Vision gaming at 4K 120Hz7 and includes HDMI 2.1 features as Variable Refresh Rate (VRR) and Auto Low Latency Mode (ALLM). Whether leaning into work or a game, or watching a movie, users can adjust the height, tilt and even resize the picture on the LG OLED Flex from 42-inches to 32- and 27-inches, for personalised viewing.

BEST PORTABLE MONITOR – ESPRESSO 17 PRO

The espresso 17 Pro is the best portable monitor ever

I’ve been a big fan of espresso Displays but as a professional working in the video world, the previous models did not quite meet my needs in the edit suite. But that’s all changed with the espresso 17 Pro. Now with the specs like 4K, 17.3 inches, 10-bit spectrum (8-bit + FRC), 100% DCI-P3 and 450 nits of brightness. espresso 17 Pro works via a single USB-C connection with thousands of devices. Compatibility options are available for devices that do not support USB-C.

To support the larger espresso 17 Pro there’s a new stand that secures magnetically to the rear of the display. The Stand Pro allows for work at various angles and heights, including portrait and landscape modes. Optimised for drawing and sketching, Stand Pro can be set securely to an 18-degree angle with a purple accented built-in kick-stand.

At the base of the Stand Pro you can add espresso Displays’ first ever battery pack. A 27,000mAh/99wH power bank that’s also airline friendly. Designed to fit flush beneath Stand Pro, it also adds height to 17 Pro display. When used with espressoFlow, users can dynamically switch charging direction between their device and Charge, and monitor battery consumption and diagnostics via an updated power tracking dashboard. 

Jot by espresso makes the most out of the pen. Activated by a pen click or keyboard shortcut, Jot is a utility to capture, cut, save, and drop on-screen content between any app, window, or document. Jot acts like a digital sketch pad that sits over the top of a desktop environment, allowing you to sketch, take notes, and transfer content. Jot will be available to all 17 Pro customers as a free download.

Bring on 2024!

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