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Is ROG Ally your next PC? Australian Price and Availability

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The first thing I thought when I started playing with the ROG Ally was .. “I’ve found a new production tool.”

The Ally is ROG’s first Windows 11 gaming handheld powered by an all-new AMD Ryzen processor for 1080p action. But don’t let the gaming housing fool you, this is a fully featured Window 11 PC with desktop-like specs. Check it out.

KEY FEATURES

  • 3 hours of gaming
  • Weighs 608g
  • AMD Ryzen™ Z1 Extreme processor
  • 16GB LPDDR5 RAM
  • 512GB storage (upgradeable)
  • 7″ FHD IPS-level glossy display touch screen, 120Hz 500 nits peak
  • AMD FreeSync Premium
  • WiFi 6E
  • Built-in Fingerprint Sensor
  • Supports any Windows title from Steam, Epic, Xbox Game Pass, and more
  • Gamers can play solo or with friends
  • AUD$1,299/NZD$1,499, with pre-orders starting today (17th May 2023)
  • Available JB Hi-Fi 13th June 2023
Watch the ROG Ally launch video highlights

“Before the ROG Ally, handhelds were limited, only offering certain games often at lower resolutions and framerates,” said Shawn Yen, Vice General Manager of Gaming BU, ASUS.

“We spent five years working to elevate that experience. The ROG Ally offers high performance in Full HD on a platform that can play all your games, anywhere you go.”

I found it interesting that the target weight was 600 grams. They got close with 608. There’s no real science behind it but it sits nicely in the hand.

We’re getting a review unit so keep an eye out for it when it drops.

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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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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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Image Matrix Tech on Sky News: Film is King – Oppenheimer IMAX 70mm

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In Sunday’s segment on Sky News Australia (Weekend Edition with Tim Gilbert) we explained the different formats available to view Christopher Nolan’s epic film ‘Oppenheimer’.

In the age of digital video and massive smart TVs .. the traditional film experience is getting harder to find but Oppenheimer is showing film is still the king. 

People are flying to Melbourne from all over the country and overseas just to see it in IMAX 70mm.  There are only 30 theatres in the world showing this format and Australia has one of them.

Oppenheimer, the story of the man who led the team that created first atom bomb, was shot in IMAX 70/65mm, including black and white, a large format film invented for this movie. 

I’ve seen it in 70mm projection and while magnificent (I prefer the widescreen look) it’s not the same as IMAX 70mm as we explain in the segment.

IMAX 70mm runs through the camera/projector horizontally while 70mm or 35mm film runs through the projector vertically. As a result, you can fit three 70mm film frames into one IMAX 70mm frame. IMAX 70mm is also known as IMAX 1570 film. The 15 in 1570 relates to the perforations along the 70mm frame.

If you can’t see it in IMAX 70mm (it might take a month) don’t be too concerned. You will see the benefits of the original negative being shot in IMAX because all smaller versions of the film will look better. When a film is shot in higher resolution then watched in a lower resolution it will be sharper and more brilliant thanks to the quality and size of the original.  

NEW PHONE IN AUSTRALIA THAT’S SO POWERFUL IT COMES WITH A FAN

The ROG (ASUS Republic of Gamers) Phone 7 Ultimate is insanely powerful and fun. It is one of the most powerful phones ever made and it’s now available in Australia.

It’s targeted at gamers but it’s also a great phone for normal use. There are two models but the Ultimate is what we’re showing in this segment.

It has a massive battery – 6000 mAh – a couple of USB ports and 16GB of RAM.

The 165 Hz Samsung AMOLED display’s peak brightness has significantly increased compared to the previous model. The brightness is now up to 1,500 nits for easier viewing outside. It also has 720 Hz touch-sampling rate and ultrasonic buttons for rapid-fire shooting.

Keeping the phone cool while gaming is key so ASUS has included an AeroActive Portal. The air inlet activates automatically when the AeroActive Cooler is attached, directing a constant flow of cool air from the cooler onto the cooling fins of the vapour chamber. 

When the AeroActive Portal is activated, the phone’s thermal efficiency can increase by up to 20%.

It also delivers 2.1-channel sound when the new AeroActive Cooler 7 accessory is attached, which houses a powerful subwoofer.

THE BLUETOOTH HEADSET THAT’S IDEAL FOR HYBRID WORK

If you’re always doing Teams or Zoom meetings in the office and on the road all day – then the Jabra Evolve2 65 Flex could be the headset for you.

It’s the most portable professional headset with unique fold and-go design paired with best-in-class Hybrid Active Noise Cancellation.

It’s extremely comfortable – soft on your ears for people using headsets all day. The flexible ear cups rotate to move whenever you do. 

Its 360° busylight glows red, sending out an easy-to-see “STOP” sign to anyone around you.

Evolve2 65 Flex is certified for all leading virtual meeting platforms – including Google Meet, Microsoft Teams and Zoom.

Plug-and-play setup is easy and with Dual connectivity letting you switch between devices, it’s easy to jump from listening to music on your phone to taking an incoming video call on your laptop without missing a beat.

Wireless range is up to 30m.

It will cost around A$500 – bit more with the charging stand, which the headset neatly sits on.

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