Acumen's techno fundi Aki Anastasiou gets hands-on with the new iPad Air and Samsung Galaxy

Samsung Galaxy S10+

A smartphone in another Galaxy

Price: R20 000

When Samsung launched their first Galaxy device in 2010, Nokia’s Symbian operating (yes, remember those devices) had a dominant market share of around 46% with Android, Blackberry and Apple making up the rest of the top four phones globally. Almost 10 years later and over two billion Galaxy devices sold, Samsung last month introduced their 10th generation of the Galaxy S range by launching three new models – the S10e, the S10 and the S10+.

The S10e is the entry-level phone (economy class in airline terms), the S10 (premium economy) and S10+ (business class). What's your preference when you travel?

The S10+ is an expectational phone. A brand new device that feels incredibly slick and premium. It is 16cm wide from the bottom left-hand corner to the top right corner. It may sound big but it doesn’t feel that way – the Infinity-O display makes it feel that the phone doesn’t have a border. It felt perfectly balanced in my hands. As the device comes on, you experience the S10+’s Quad HD+ Dynamic AMOLED display, and it is breathtaking. The fingerprint scanner has been moved to the front screen of the device making it very easy to unlock your phone. Without doubt one of the most impressive features of the S10 is the camera. It has three lenses, telephoto, wide-angle, and ultra-wide, that together take very impressive photographs and shoot superb photos in low light conditions. The Wireless PowerShare is another cool feature that is really useful – just flip the phone over and once enabled, the back of the phone becomes a wireless charge point to share your power. With a great battery life and lightning performance, the S10+ is a contender for the best phone of 2019. If you are due for an upgrade – don’t think twice!

Apple iPad Air and iPad Mini

High-performance features with Apple Pencil support

Price: from R8 000

Apple has made several announcements recently including launching a new streaming service called Apple TV+ which will feature Apple-produced content and a host of channels to take on the likes of Netflix and Amazon Prime Video. The new service launches in September to 100 countries. It also announced an Apple News app. For a monthly $9.99 subscription, users will have access to over 300 magazine titles.  

The new iPads are a very welcome upgrade for those who need performance and the ability to use Apple Pencil. Apple last updated the iPad Mini four years ago. The latest version is the same size as the previous version, but the processor and the A12 chip coupled together with Apple Pencil support, make it a compelling business tool.

The new iPad Air is great for productivity and it might even convince you to ditch your laptop. It is fast, battery life is fabulous, has an excellent screen, and you can use Apple’s Smart Keyboard and Pencil.

Grammarly

Take your grammar to another level

Price: $29 per month or $139.95 annually

Grammarly is a fantastic piece of software that will help improve your writing. You’re probably saying my spell checker is adequate enough and that Microsoft Office corrects me when needed. What sets Grammarly apart? Apart from it being a spell checker, it also checks your grammar, punctuation, context and sentence structure. It has a vocabulary enhancement suggestion feature which gives you different word options to use that add a sense of richness to the English language. The plagiarism detector checks 16 billion web pages, so you can never be accused of copying someone else. The premium version plugs into your smartphone keyboard and anything basically that you would use to type on your phone or computer. I found it especially useful on my phone where we often make mistakes due to the size of the keyboard. It is pricey, but well worth it, especially when, in business, communication is everything.

Yubico YubiKey

Authentication like no other

Price: from R1 100

According to the World Economic Forum, the top five risks to global stability over the next five years include natural disasters, extreme weather, cyber attacks, data fraud and the failure to address climate change. Securing anything you do online has never been more important. Every day there is news of a hack where millions of identities and passwords have been stolen. How secure are your online accounts? Having a complicated password doesn’t necessarily protect you. You need at least two-factor authentication. This is where Yubico’s YubiKey comes in. Imagine this as a key to your security gate at home. A single YubiKey has multiple functions for securing your login to email, online services, apps, computers and even physical spaces. The versatile YubiKey requires no software installation or battery; just plug it into a USB port, and touch the button, or tap-n-go for secure authentication. Even if you are a victim of a data breach and your credentials are stolen, hackers and criminals cannot get into your account without your physical key. The actual YubiKeys are very durable and waterproof so they are difficult to destroy. They are not cheap, but having the peace of mind that your online activity is secure is priceless.

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