With 2012 officially off the books, we look back at some of the recently released devices that we simply didn’t have room to fit into our previous issues. As we take one last glance at devices from 2012, companies will have already previewed what’s in store for 2013 at the Consumer Electronics Show, better known as CES. Since CES occurred after press time, we’ll highlight devices from the event in next month’s issue.
Tablet: Same Device. Only Smaller.
Apple’s iPad Mini ($329–$659) is precisely what it sounds like—a miniature version of the popular tablet. It has all of the same features that you’ve come to love—or not, if you prefer Android—including FaceTime, iSight, and Siri, but it is all on a 7.9-inch display. With dual-band Wi-Fi (2.4GHz and 5GHz), this tiny iPad also has the same upgraded wireless speeds as the new iPad, which makes them both up to twice as fast as any previous generation model.
Ultrabook: With a Twist
Convertibles are all the rage since the release of Windows 8—and Lenovo has another one. The ThinkPad Twist ($829 and up)—not to be confused with Lenovo’s IdeaPad 13—can twist its screen into four positions to fit your needs. Type on it like a standard laptop, turn it into a tablet when on the go, use the keyboard as a stand for presentations, or pitch it like a tent for up-close browsing. It also comes equipped with the Active Protection System to protect your hard drive in case you drop it.
Smartphone: Built for Windows
The Windows Phone 8X by HTC ($100–$550) comes in quite a package—an ultra slim design (0.39-inches) and one of several bold colors (depending on your carrier). On the inside it has a 1.5 GHz dual-core processor, Beats Audio for improved sound quality and an 8-megapixel camera. Of course, it runs on Windows 8, which lets you set up personalized tiles for the things most important to you—whether that is people you need to contact at a moment’s notice or easy access to Microsoft Office Mobile.
Fitness: Measuring the Beat
There are several devices on the market that measure your heart rate while you run, but the most accurate involve either a bulky chest strap or direct finger contact. The MIO Alpha ($199) aims to change all that. This device straps to your wrist and uses two light beams and an electro-optical cell to measure the volume of blood under your skin. That, along with a separate motion detector that compensates for disturbance caused by movement, allows the Alpha to get an accurate measurement even if you are moving at speeds of up to 12 MPH.
Camera: Big Quality in Pocket Size
Sony’s NEX line of cameras has always been about giving you the quality of a DSLR camera in a more convenient size. The Alpha NEX-6 ($1,000) continues in that tradition. It is a compact interchangeable-lens camera with a 16.1-megapixel APS-C size HD image sensor—the same sensor format in Sony’s full-sized DSLRs. The camera also has a Fast Hybrid Autofocus feature that combines two technologies: Phase detection autofocus (ideal for moving subjects) and contrast-detection autofocus (for added precision). Additionally, built-in Wi-Fi makes it easy to share and transfer your photos.