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Microsoft Launches New Surface Devices

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Microsoft has announced the general availability of Microsoft Surface Laptop Studio and Surface Pro 8 for organisations across industries in the UAE. Built to be modern and essential devices for today’s hybrid workforce, the new Surface products protect productivity, promote innovation, and prioritise accessibility, while ensuring the safety and security of all users.

“Today’s work environment has transformed drastically after industries have had to overcome the overwhelming challenges over the past couple of years,” said Laura McDonald, Business Group Director, Modern Work with Surface Microsoft UAE. “And in this difficult transition, people have remained resilient, leveraging the power of innovative technology. With the introduction of the new Surface devices, the modern-day hybrid workplace will benefit the most from secure technology that can not only keep up with today’s accelerated changes but enhance the entire work experience to take productivity to the next level. We’re excited to see organizations in the UAE flourish with these new innovations and unlock the potential of their workforce.”

Designed in concert with Windows 11, the new devices reflect Microsoft’s commitment towards designing technology that fosters productivity and creativity, while also bringing inclusion and accessibility to the fore. Each new version of Windows unlocks the next generation of hardware innovation. And for the last decade, Surface has been at the forefront – challenging convention, pioneering new experiences and creating entirely new categories of devices. “Windows 11 is built on the familiar Windows foundation but reimagined to boost employee productivity and enhance collaboration on the most secure version of Windows yet,” added McDonald.

In addition to ensuring productivity and innovation in the modern workplace, Microsoft is launching the Microsoft Ocean Plastic Mouse as a step forward in Microsoft’s larger sustainability journey. In keeping with the organisation’s goal to have 100 percent recyclable devices and packages by 2030, the new mouse is made with 20 percent recycled ocean plastic and its packaging is 100 percent recyclable.

Surface Laptop Studio
The Surface Laptop Studio will transform the way users work with the most powerful and flexible laptop yet. It’s built for performance with the highest graphics horsepower of any Surface Laptop. Seamlessly multitask and handle heavy workflows with quad-core powered 11th Gen Intel Core H Series processors, blazing enterprise-grade NVIDIA RTX A2000 laptop GPUs, and Thunderbolt 4 ports.

No matter the task, the Surface Laptop Studio provides unparalleled flexibility as it transitions from a best-in-class laptop to a natural angle for immersive Microsoft Teams calls and presentations, to a full-performance canvas. Unleash creativity and enjoy the feeling of putting pen to paper with the vibrant and sharp 14.4” touchscreen and Surface Slim Pen 2.

Surface Pro 8
The all-new Surface Pro 8 is a powerful, ultra-light, and slim device packed with processors to handle intensive workloads. Double-digit performance increases and 11th Gen Intel Core processors mean Surface Pro 8 will handle it all whether handwriting notes on the screen, multitasking while on a video call, or crushing a spreadsheet – all in an ultra-versatile package. Enjoy the flexibility of writing in laptop mode, presenting multiple screens in desktop mode, or signing a contract on-screen with Slim Pen 2 in tablet mode.

Collaborate from anywhere with high-definition connections. From Wi-Fi 6 to LTE, teams can stay connected and productive with great cloud productivity tools that are instantly available.

Companies in the UAE can order the Microsoft Surface Laptop Studio and Surface Pro 8 through Authorised Partners.

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Audio Devices

Sonos Ace Headphones Review: A Stylish Entry with Excellent Performance

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Sonos, the renowned home audio brand, took a bold step into the world of personal audio by introducing the Sonos Ace headphones. This premium, over-ear wireless headphones boast a sleek design, active noise cancellation (ANC), and the promise of signature Sonos sound.

Design and Comfort
Sonos doesn’t disappoint when it comes to aesthetics. The Ace headphones exude a minimalist elegance. Available in black and soft white, they feature a matte finish with metallic accents. The build quality feels substantial, with a mix of plush memory foam earcups and a sturdy, lightweight frame. These headphones are comfortable to wear for extended periods, thanks to the generous earcup padding and a well-distributed weight balance.

Controls and Functionality
Sonos opts for physical buttons over the now-commonplace touch controls. A multi-function “Content Key” on the right earcup handles playback, volume, and track skipping. A separate button cycles through ANC modes and voice assistant activation. The buttons offer a satisfying tactile response, a welcome change from the finicky nature of touch controls.

The Sonos app, though not as feature-rich as some competitors’ offerings, provides basic controls such as ANC adjustments and a five-band EQ, which allows for some sound customisation. One notable feature is multipoint Bluetooth connectivity, allowing you to connect to two devices simultaneously. This is a convenient feature for users who switch frequently between phones and laptops.

Sound Quality
The Sonos Ace delivers a pleasant listening experience. The sound signature leans towards the warm side, with a satisfying bass presence without overwhelming the mids and highs. The instruments are well-defined, and the vocals come through clearly. For audiophiles, the Sonos Ace offers an outstanding soundstage.

The ANC is excellent, effectively blocking out low-frequency noise such as aeroplane hum and traffic rumble. Call quality is also very good, with the built-in microphones doing an adequate job of picking up your voice during calls.

Battery Life and Connectivity
Sonos boasts a stellar battery life of 30+ hours with ANC turned on. This is a major plus for frequent travellers and long listening sessions. The headphones use Bluetooth 5.3, offering a reliable connection with minimal latency.

A unique feature of the Sonos Ace is its potential integration with the Sonos ecosystem. The app allows you to switch seamlessly between the headphones and your Sonos home speakers. This functionality is currently limited, but future updates could unlock features such as using the headphones as surround sound speakers for your Sonos home theatre setup.

Verdict
The Sonos Ace headphones are a solid first entry into the wireless headphone market. They boast excellent noise cancellation, a comfortable design, and long battery life. The sound quality is quite good, too. The potential for deeper integration with the Sonos ecosystem is intriguing, however, the hefty price tag might deter some budget-conscious consumers.

If you’re a Sonos loyalist looking for a pair of stylish headphones with excellent ANC and good sound quality, the Sonos Ace is a compelling option, especially if the promise of future ecosystem integration appeals to you. The Sonos Ace headphones are a promising debut with a clear focus on comfort, noise cancellation, and design. They offer a well-rounded listening experience with the potential for exciting future developments within the Sonos ecosystem.

Price: AED 2099

Sonos Ace Headphones AED 2099
  • Final Rating
4

Summary

The Sonos Ace delivers a pleasant listening experience. The sound signature leans towards the warm side, with a satisfying bass presence without overwhelming the mids and highs. The instruments are well-defined, and the vocals come through clearly.

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Apple Detects Spyware Targeting iPhones in Multiple Countries

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Apple has issued a second spyware attack warning to iPhone users in 98 countries, raising concerns about the growing threat to mobile security. This follows a similar alert in April targeting users in 92 countries.

While specific details about the latest attacks remain under wraps, the alert serves as a stark reminder of the evolving threat landscape. India is one confirmed country where users received the notification.

Spyware, a particularly invasive type of malware, can grant attackers complete access to an iPhone, including encrypted messages, audio, and video. The notorious Pegasus spyware from NSO Group is a well-known example.

“Apple detected that you are being targeted by a mercenary spyware attack that is trying to remotely compromise the iPhone associated with your Apple ID -xxx-,” Apple wrote in its new spyware alert.

Adding to the concern, researchers recently revealed the return of LightSpy, a “particularly dangerous” campaign capable of pinpointing a target’s location with “near-perfect accuracy.”

The worrying aspect of these attacks is their ability to exploit “zero-click” vulnerabilities, meaning infection can occur without any user interaction, such as opening a malicious link or attachment.

This highlights the importance of remaining vigilant and following Apple’s security recommendations, which may include updating your device to the latest iOS version.

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Gadgets

Acer Launches Chromebox Mini

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As the digital landscape evolves, businesses are increasingly seeking ways to engage with audiences. Digital signage and interactive kiosks are at the forefront of this trend, with the market expected to reach $30.56 billion by 2028. Acer addresses this demand with mini-PCs designed for digital signage and kiosks. Their Chromebox Mini CXM1 is a secure and reliable mini-PC that can drive up to three displays simultaneously. It’s compact, silent, and features the latest connectivity options like Wi-Fi 6E and Gigabit Ethernet.

Powered by ChromeOS, the Chromebox Mini CXM1 offers fast deployment, automatic updates, and long-term support. Additionally, the cloud-based Google Admin console allows for remote management and customization. The Chromebox Mini CXM1 complements Acer’s existing line-up of digital signage solutions, including Large Format Displays (LFDs). Acer offers LFDs in various configurations, from high-resolution 4K displays to interactive whiteboards. These LFDs seamlessly integrate with the Chromebox Mini CXM1 using a VESA mounting kit.

Acer’s large format displays are designed for consistent performance and stunning clarity. They cater to various needs, including promotional signage, education, and corporate collaboration. With robust management tools and automated security, Acer displays require minimal maintenance, allowing businesses to focus on creating engaging content. Acer’s Chromebox Mini CXM1 and LFDs provide businesses with a comprehensive suite of tools for impactful advertising, information sharing, and customer interaction.

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