Brendan Nystedt | September 29, 2015
After going through more than 51 hours of research, a reader survey, and stacks and stacks of toasted white bread, mini pizza bagels, and cookies, we recommend the Panasonic FlashXpress for most home kitchens. It’s smaller than most competing toaster ovens and cheaper, too, but it delivers four slices of perfectly browned toast every time.
Socks are the hardest. For an future washing machine that washes, dries and then folds the results, it’s one of the small barriers that remains in that latter stage. But as a research project that started back in 2008, Laundroid is finally getting there. Next year, the collaboration between housing firm Daiwa House, electronics company Panasonic and Seven Dreamers will start offering preorders, the year after that ‘beta’ machines, then folding machines for big institutions, with event full retail planned the year after that — we’ll be in 2019 by then. (That said, the all-in-one model is still at the in-development stage). There’s no price and the presentation we saw added in a bunch of mosaic filtering on top as the shirt gradually got folded so you couldn’t see how the thing actually works. But that’s okay. We can wait. It’s not going to stop us waiting our chore-dodging dreams to come true.
While the video teaser above gives you pretty much nothing of substance, at the on-stage demonstration, we saw a just-washed tee take a matter of minutes for the internal tech to sort, identify and fold. The tech involved is separated into two very separate parts: image analysis and robotics. With a hypothetical bundle of clothes, each item demands different folding (we’re going to say) techniques, so the machine needs to figure what that soft lump of cloth is, then prime it for folding. The presentation here at CEATEC elaborated (if only lightly) on the stages it’s taken to get to here: it’s been a pretty long journey.
Because clothing is so malleable, it takes a higher degree of skill and dexterity for a robot to perform tasks with than, say, wood or metal.
Because clothing is so malleable, it takes a higher degree of skill and dexterity for a robot to perform tasks with than, say, wood or metal. However, as far as the on-the-rails demonstration on stage went, it was a success. A handful of minutes later, the HAL-esque cabinet (which frustratingly hid all the robotic ‘magic’) produced the shirt, folded flat, if not completely pristinely. (We’re sticklers for crisp edges, what can we say?) The team behind it promises that more will be revealed as it slowly comes into existence over the end half of this decade.
With a entire laundry load, the on-stage hostess explained it would likely take around seven hours, ideally meaning you’d set the machine to work as you’re going to bed, waking up to pile of freshly, robotically, folded laundry. And for now, crumpled socks.
Interbrand has released its latest annual ranking of the world’s most valuable brands and for the third year running, Apple and Google have topped the list. The 2015 edition of the Best Global Brands reveals that technology brands show no sign of slowing down with six out of the top ten made up of technology companies.
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For the third year running, Apple has topped the list and Google has come second, with both companies leading the list for the third year in a row. Apple is valued at $170 billion while Google is valued at $120 billion and the consultancy derives its valuation from a company’s financials, ability to influence purchase decisions and the extend that it can support premium pricing (which explains why Apple has topped the list).
Microsoft and IBM swapped places, with the Redmond-based Windows-maker valued at $68 billion in fourth place. Korean giant Samsung stayed in seventh place with a valuation of $45 billion while Amazon (who is technically classified as a retailer), is up 29 percent to $38 billion in tenth place. Other brands in the top ten include Coca-Cola, General Electric and McDonald’s.
Elsewhere on the list outside the top 10:
- Intel rank in 14th with a 4 percent increase to $35 billion
- HP dropped 3 percent to $23 billion in 18th place
- Social giant Facebook rose 54 percent to a valuation of $22 billion in 23rd place
- Camera giant Canon dropped 4 percent to $11 billion in 40th place
- Siemens ranked 53rd ($8.5 billion)
- Sony dropped 5 percent to a valuation of $8 billion in 58th place
- Panasonic rose 2 percent to $6.4 billion in 65th place
- Huawei rose a whopping 15% percent to $5 billion in 88th place
This year’s edition also saw PayPal and Lenovo enter the list at 97th and 100th place with valuations of $4.25 billion and $4.11 billion but the list isn’t great for everyone; as might be expected, troubled Finnish company Nokia joined troubled gamer Nintendo in dropping out of the list.
What do you think of the companies on (and off) the list? Let us know your views in the comments below guys!
After scoping out 160 models over 42 hours of research and testing, we found the $160 Shark Navigator Lift-Away NV352 cleans most kinds of debris from most common surfaces, needs relatively little maintenance, and should last at least five years. That’s a combination of benefits we couldn’t find with any other vacuum cleaner in this price range.
It won’t last as long or clean as deeply as the best high-end vacs, and it may not be as convenient as a cordless vacuum, but the Shark NV352 represents an effective, affordable, simple-to-use compromise that will work well in most homes in the US and Canada.
How we decided
Experience tells us that the best cheap vacuums are bagless uprights that cost between $130 and $200. We’ve learned that after speaking with about a dozen experts, reading at least 1,000 user and editorial reviews, and testing all shapes and prices of vacuums over the past two years.
We narrowed the field down to a few models that fit those criteria, and then we tested how well they resisted clogs (and how easily we could clean them), how they handled in tight spaces, and whether they could clean up debris like powder, pet hair, and crumbs on bare floors and carpets.
The NV352 comes apart in more places than most vacuums do, which makes clearing clogs or replacing individual broken parts especially easy.
The Shark Navigator Lift-Away NV352 is the best cheap vacuum because the sum of all its features and abilities is greater than that of any of the other 160 vacuums in this price range.
It will clean up pretty much any kind of debris (including pet hair) from almost any kind of bare floor or carpet in your home. And with its washable filters and durable moving parts, you won’t have to put much time, effort, or money into its upkeep, so it will run better, for longer, than most of its peers. If parts break, they’re covered under the five-year warranty, and Shark will ship replacement parts for free as long as you bought the vac from an authorized retailer.
Handling is smooth and light thanks to a 12-pound body and a swiveling joint between the chassis and cleaning head. The lift-away canister, the pull-out wand, and the mini brush attachment give it more versatility and reach than is common at this price. People who own it tend to love it, comparing it favorably to their old vacuums in user reviews.
Any cheap vacuum has to make some trade-offs. This Shark model tends to push large particles, such as pieces of cereal, in front instead of sucking them up, and its accordion hose is prone to cracking, though replacement is free under warranty. We think that among all the sub-$200 vacuums out there, the NV352 makes the wisest set of compromises that anyone could hope for.
If the NV352 is sold out, note that Shark makes a ton of models that are essentially identical. As an alternative, we suggest the Shark Navigator Lift-Away NV356E; we love it for all the same reasons, but it has a larger dust cup and usually costs more.
A canister-style alternative
The Panasonic MC-CG902 has an adjustable-height cleaning head (pictured here on the highest setting), which allows the vacuum to smoothly clean pretty much any type of surface in any home.
If you prefer canister-style vacuums, or if your home has lots of thick carpet that a Shark would choke on, check out the Panasonic MC-CG902. It’s a perennial favorite at Consumer Reports, consistently sitting near the top of the testing house’s canister-vacuum rankings and earning Best Buy status (a step up from Recommended). The build quality has some known issues, and lots of people won’t be able to abide its bagged, canister-style design. But in a few homes, it’s the best affordable option.
Wrapping it up
If you’re floored by how badly your current vacuum sucks, get the Shark NV352. It’s a pleasure to use, and it cleans well—and with the warranty, there’s no reason you should get any less than five years of reliable service for the purchase price.
This guide may have been updated by The Sweethome. To see the current recommendation, please go here.
Panasonic has announced a new smartphone for the Indian market – the Eluga Icon. The handset is quite your typical mid-ranger and it will be available exclusively through Amazon India with a Rs. 10,999 price tag.
The Eluga Icon is a 5.5-inch handset, with a passable 720p (1280×720) display resolution. The phone is powered by a 64-bit 1.5GHz octa-core processor, quite likely a MediaTek MT7652, 2GB of RAM, and 16GB of internal storage, with an expandable microSD card slot for an extra 32GB of space.
There’s a familiar 13 megapixel camera on the back with an LED flash and an 8 megapixel camera on the front of the phone for higher resolution selfies. The Eluga Icon also sports dual-SIM support and 4G LTE connectivity, along with a 3,500mAh battery. Very reasonable mid-range specifications, but the phone ships with a slightly older Android 4.4 KitKat OS, which doesn’t quite match up to other handsets in this price range which come with the latest version of Lollipop installed.
If you’re in the market for a lower cost handset, Panasonic also launched its low cost Love T10 and T33 smartphones earlier in the year. These phones are priced at less than Rs. 5,000 each. For the photography enthusiasts, the Panasonic Lumix CM1 landed in the US back in June too.
The Panasonic Eluga Icon will be available directly from Amazon India for Rs. 10,999 on August 14th. The handset is listed in a slate grey color.
Panasonic has taken the wraps off its latest smartphone, the Eluga Icon. The handset is set to launch in India on Thursday, August, 13, where it will be available to purchase exclusively from Amazon for INR 10,999 ($170).
In terms of specifications, the Eluga Icon is a pretty solid mid-range handset, packing a 5.5-inch 720p display, a 1.5GHz MediaTek MT6752 octa-core CPU, 2GB of RAM, a 13MP rear-facing camera and an 8MP selfie shooter.
The device will ship running the latest build of KitKat skinned with Panasonic’s Icon custom user interface, dual-SIM functionality and support for all 4G LTE carrier bands in India.
If you’re based in India, like the sound of the Eluga Icon and would like to find out more about picking one up — hit the source link below.
Come comment on this article: Panasonic will launch the Eluga Icon in India on Thursday, August 13
Only two months after introducing the G7 Micro Four Thirds camera, Panasonic is now expanding its compact line with the Lumix GX8. The new shooter, which is dustproof and splashproof, features a 20.3-megapixel Digital Live MOS sensor, Venus Engine imaging processor, an ISO range of up to 25,600, high-speed burst shooting modes of either 8 or 6 fps, NFC, WiFi and a 3-inch LCD. Panasonic’s also going after the video-making crowd with this flagship camera, since it can shoot 4K (3,840 x 2,160) at both 24 and 30 fps — similar to other members of the Lumix series. Most notably, the mirrorless GX8 packs a dual image stabilizer, an attribute that should push out clearer shots across the board, especially in handheld, low-lit scenarios. If it grabs your interest, Panasonic’s Lumix GX8 will be available in mid-August for a cool $1,200 — although that won’t include any lenses.
Filed under: Cameras
In case that GX8 flagship mirrorless camera is too much for you, Panasonic has prepared another announcement for today. Enter the Lumix FZ300, a feature-packed superzoom that can do many things. The main highlight here is, not surprisingly, the 24x optical zoom, but the FZ300 is also capable of capturing 4K (3,840 x 2,160) at both 24 and 30 fps — which will make it an appealing option for people who are interested in shooting video. Powering the FZ300 is a 12.1-megapixel High Sensitivity MOS sensor, the same Venus Engine image processor as the new GX8, an ISO range of 6400 and a Leica DC Vario-Elmarit 25mm, f/2.8 ultra-wide lens (a 25-600mm equivalent at 35mm). Unfortunately, you’ll have to wait until October to get your hands on the FZ300, which is expected to be priced at $600.
Filed under: Cameras
Did you take one look at Panasonic’s Lumix DMC-CM1 and vow to pay whatever it took to get this smartphone/mirrorless camera hybrid in the US? You now have a chance to put your money where your mouth is. Panasonic has started selling an unlocked version of the CM1 in the US, and it’ll set you back an eye-watering $1,000 — suddenly, that 128GB Galaxy S6 seems like a bargain. There’s a good reason for the giant price tag, mind you. While the phone half is no great shakes between its 4.7-inch 1080p screen, Android 4.4 KitKat and a Snapdragon 801 chip, you’re also getting a big 1-inch, 20-megapixel imaging sensor with a bright, high-quality f/2.8 lens. If you already treat your smartphone as a camera that just happens to make calls, this might be your handset of choice.
Panasonic has announced they are bringing the Lumix CM1 camera to the U.S. market through a variety of retailers and their own online store. The Lumix CM1 was originally launched last year in France and Germany. The list price in the U.S. for the hybrid camera will be $999.99.
The Lumix CM1 is a hybrid device combining a point-and-shoot type compact digital camera with a typical smartphone running Android. Unlike most smartphones, Panasonic went ahead and loaded up the device with a camera sporting a 1-inch sensor. This enables it to take some exceptionally high quality images. The camera also supports 4K video recording. To help users take advantage of the 4K capabilities, Panasonic includes a couple apps called 4K Photo and 4K Pre-Burst. The first one can be used to snip out a photo from a 4K video while the second one can be used for fast-action photography.
Along with the camera features, Panasonic included Wi-Fi and 4G LTE chips in the device so it can double as a phone. It is unclear whether the units are shipping with Lollipop, but an upgrade from KitKat is available.
Come comment on this article: Panasonic launches the Lumix CM1 in the U.S. market