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Gizmos ‘beyond the limit’

Samsung’s annual African forum showcased a veritable Aladdin’s cave of gadgets, writes Alan Cooper.

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With Turkey’s busiest airport shut down for the better part of a day by a blizzard, it was fitting that the theme of Samsung’s annual Africa Forum, held in that country recently, was “Beyond the Limit”.

Because limits there were aplenty to overcome, not the least among them being the logistics of getting several hundred delegates to the coastal city of Antalya via the snowbound stopover of Istanbul’s Ataturk Airport.

One group avoided the logjam when their flight was diverted directly to Antalya. A media contingent from southern Africa, yours truly included, was not as lucky and found themselves trapped in Istanbul for the better part of 24 hours.

But when we eventually arrived at the event, it became clear that all the schlep had been worth it. The expo hall was a veritable Aladdin’s cave of gadgets and gizmos, with almost every product Samsung intends selling in Africa over the coming year on show. Simply listing them would require more space than I have here, so I’ll have to be content with sharing a handful that caught my eye.

And when it comes to catching the eye, they don’t come more qualified than the new range of Samsung ultra high definition (SUHD) curved TVs, the most lustworthy being the flagship 88-inch JS9500.

If you follow developments in the 4K TV market, you’ll have read the marketing schpiel about Samsung’s SUHD range, how it employs eco-friendly nano crystal display technology and an intelligent remastering engine to deliver superior picture quality with stunning contrast, striking brightness, spectacular colour and superb four times HD detail. I’d read the same material, but none of it prepared me for the sheer, retina-searing beauty of this delectable device.

While my head grappled with the quantum dot tech that provided 64 times more colour expression than conventional TVs, my heart and eyes simply wanted to stare into its depths forever.

Beware this mesmerising effect when you walk into an electronics shop, because if you’re a home entertainment aficionado you’re going to feel a powerful urge to own this telly. Local prices haven’t been announced, but the $6 000 price tag of the range-topping JS9500 should be some indication of the budgeting dilemma that’s in store for you.

Of course, a world-beating feast for the eyes deserves a stellar listening experience, and Samsung did not disappoint on this score either, unveiling an expanded selection of its curved “Soundbars” to match their curved TVs. If you’re going to buy one of the new TVs, you’ll be sorely tempted to go the whole hog and add an HW-J8500 or J8501 Soundbar to your cart after you’ve been exposed to its 9.1 channel audio, centre and side speakers and Samsung’s Multi-Air Gap speaker unit in the subwoofer.

Impressed as I was by the Soundbars, I was more taken by the quirky WAM7500 and WAM6500 speakers. The rugby ball-shaped speakers deliver a 360º sound experience, making them the ideal centrepiece at a house party.

The Korean multinational also showed off its full line-up of curved UHD monitors, including the award-winning SE790C. With its ultra-wide dimensions, quad HD resolution and a superior contrast ratio, this monitor would be every PC gamer’s dream accessory, as well as a nifty tool allowing power users to display documents and stock tickers on one screen without having to resort to window hopping or a second screen.

With my allotted space pretty much used up, I’ve yet to describe the nifty NX500 camera, not to mention Samsung’s new line of home appliances.

I’ll review some of them in the coming weeks and months. In the meantime, for more details, including specs and pictures, visit www.alanqcooper.tumblr.com.

E-mail alanqcooper@gmail.com or follow @alanqcooper on Twitter.

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