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Smart phone facilitates professional picture-taking

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The Nokia Lumia 1020's Pro Camera interface permits granular exposure adjustments. The Nokia Lumia 1020's Pro Camera interface permits granular exposure adjustments.
Optional Nokia Camera Grip yields steadier handheld shots plus provides a tripod socket. Optional Nokia Camera Grip yields steadier handheld shots plus provides a tripod socket.
ASUS VivoPC provides wealth of connections, including HDMI, SVGA, USB 3.0, optical audio out, and more ASUS VivoPC provides wealth of connections, including HDMI, SVGA, USB 3.0, optical audio out, and more
Although the ASUS VivoPC is compact, a detachable cover facilitates easy hardware upgrades. Although the ASUS VivoPC is compact, a detachable cover facilitates easy hardware upgrades.

The Nokia Lumia 1020 produces some of the sharpest images a digital camera can produce, thanks to its second-generation 41-megapixel sensor combined with innovative PureView technology and optical image stabilization. The odd thing is it's a Windows 8 smart phone!

Equipped with an application called
Nokia Pro Camera, the Lumia 1020 makes it easy for anyone to take professional-quality images or video. Besides its massive sensor, the device features super-sharp ZEISS optics with six physical lenses, optical image stabilization, and impressive light-gathering ability in low light conditions.

Either before or after a photo or video is taken, the phone's user interface demonstrates how settings will affect the final product. Using
dual capture, the camera simultaneously takes a high-resolution 38-megapixel primary image plus creates a 5-megapixel picture that is easy to share via social networks.

The device really doesn't miss a trick. Even at the loudest concerts, the Lumia 1020 can capture blur-free video with stereo sound thanks to
Nokia Rich Recording, which the manufacturer claims can handle sound pressure levels six times louder than conventional smart phone microphones.

To facilitate steadier handholding and additional battery life, Nokia also offers the
Nokia Camera Grip (MSRP $79). The accessory complements the Lumia 1020's built-in xenon flash and mechanical shutter, plus provides a tripod mount.

The
Nokia Lumia 1020 lists for $599.99 and is available at AT&T for $199.99 with a new, two-year service contract. The stylish smart phone is available in yellow, white and black. For more information, visit NOKIA.com.

Mini PC transforms HDTV into multimedia megacenter

If Santa left a new big-screen TV under your tree, ASUS has the perfect accessory, the ultra-compact VivoPC, a stylish mini-desktop PC that delivers high-quality sound, excellent video, and lightning fast wireless networking. The device even includes a pair of built-in, 2-watt SonicMaster speakers.

Suited for home productivity or entertainment applications, the VivoPC is just 56mm tall and has a footprint smaller than a sheet of typing paper. Clad in a spun metal finish, the entry-level VivoPC is more than adequate for web browsing and other casual Web activities. If your needs gravitate towards video streaming or other resource intensive tasks, go with a beefier model.

Powered by genuine Intel processors, the ASUS VivoPC family runs 64-bit Windows 8 and consists of two models: the VM40B and VC60. The VM40B runs an Intel Celeron 1007U (1.50GHz) processor, 4GB DDR3 RAM, and a 500GB HDD. The more capable VC60 comes in two variants, one powered by a Core i3-3110M or the other powered by a Core i5-3210M.

Despite the VivoPC's compactness, hardware upgrades are easy to accomplish. A removable cover provides quick access to two internal memory slots and a drive bay that can accommodate either a 3.5-inch or a 2.5-inch SATA hard drive. A slot for an onboard DVD drive, however, is nowhere to be found.

All models feature 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi networking and Bluetooth V4.0 for wireless connectivity. Rear panel connections include gigabit Ethernet, VGA, HDMI output, USB 3.0 (2), USB 2.0 (4), and S/PDIF optical audio output. An SD/MMC 2-in-1 card reader slot is there too.

The ASUS VivoPC (Model VM40B) comes with an external AC supply, full-size wired USB keyboard and wired USB mini-mouse. Connecting cables are extra. The unit lists for $329.99. For more information, visit ASUS.com.

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