The International Olympic Committee (IOC) is pretty strict about advertising at the London 2012 Olympics. Brand visibility is tightly restricted to official Olympic sponsors, but Beats Audio seems to be circumventing the rules with its headphones, seen adorning the ears of many an athlete.
Dr Dre's headphones brand may claim that it doesn't pay for product placement—whether on athletes' ears or in films—but a few strategically offered gifts have been working wonders for brand visibility.
Advertising rules are strict at the London Olympics. We've heard about food joints being banned from selling chips within a certain radius of venues to guarantee exclusivity to event sponsor McDonalds. And what about the threats that anyone wearing a Pepsi t-shirt would be turfed out so as not to upset the supremacy of sponsor Coca-Cola? But wait—Panasonic is also one of the official sponsors of London 2012, and it happens to make headphones ...
True to form, Beats has sent special-edition Union Jack headphones to Team GB swimmers and athletes who were only too keen to wear them. Panasonic is clearly none too happy about all this free brand visibility, which has prompted the IOC to look into the matter. However, it's impossible to prevent athletes from bringing their own possessions to the Games, and no specific contract has been signed about the exclusivity of headphones.
The IOC has reiterated that athletes are forbidden from speaking about Beats products or any other non-sponsor brands on social networks on in interviews. Then again, we can't help thinking that athletes are likely to have more interesting topics of discussion than their headphones. Beats Audio therefore seems to have pulled off a master coup, ensuring product visibility to millions of worldwide viewers all for the price of a few free products.
> Headphones Reviews
By the time rapper 50 Cent's long-announced in-ear headphones came out, we had all but forgotten about the buggers. It took several months and a return to complete self-government for SMS Audio to finally dish out the goods.
SMS Audio Street by 50 In-Ear Headphones
From an audio standpoint, is the "By 50" series really the expertly designed signature product it claims to be? I don't think so.
> Reviews: In-Ear Headphones
Announced back in June, Sony's next two Android phones should be with us sometime during this fine month of August.
Sony Xperia Tipo
Sony's Xperia family is due a couple of new arrivals this month, in the shape of the Tipo and Miro smartphones. The Tipo looks like it's due to arrive first, with some sites suggesting it could be with us as soon as this week.
The Xperia Tipo runs on Android Ice Cream Sandwich (4.0) and an 800 MHz Qualcomm processor. It has a 3.2" screen (480 x 320 pixels) that's apparently scratch-resistant, as well as 3 GB of internal memory (which can be expanded to 32 GB), a 3.2-Megapixel camera and a 1500 mAh battery. The Xperia Tipo is also one of a rare breed of dual-Sim smartphones, which means it can be loaded with two SIM cards. It weighs just under 100 g and measures a relatively compact 103 x 57 x 13 mm.
The Xperio Miro runs on a single-core 800 MHz Qualcomm processor and has a slightly bigger TFT display at 3.5" for 480 x 320 pixels. It has a 5-Megapixel camera plus a second, front-facing camera. The OS is Android 4.0 (ICS). The release date is still to be confirmed for this 113 x 59.4 x 9.9 mm smartphone, weighing a reasonable 110 g, but it's expected to arrive this month.
> Phone Reviews: Mobiles and Smartphones
Does the Pentax K-30 have what it takes to seal the same kind of success as the K10D? It sells for the price of an enthusiast-level SLR (about £700) but boasts added Pentax extras like a weather-resistant finish, a high-end viewfinder and two settings thumb-wheels.
Pentax K-30163 readers want this Me too!
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Expert SLRs are usually pretty similar to enthusiast models but with more advanced features, such as a 100% viewfinder, extra buttons and wheels for direct access to settings, and bolstered build quality, sometimes with weather-proofing.
The Pentax K-30 brings you all that at a much lower price than the average expert SLR. In fact, it's lined up as a direct rival for Canon's EOS 650D and Sony's Alpha 65. Obviously, Pentax has had to cut costs somewhere, so the K-30 uses electronics that are already two years old (lifted from the K-5) and the rear face is finished in plastic.
> Review: Pentax K-30
> Digital Cameras: SLR, Micro 4/3 and Interchangeable Lens Reviews
We've got loads of top gear up for review this week, including Apple's latest 13" MacBook Air and the Pentax K-30 SLR. Scroll down to see the full line-up.
Last Week's Top Fives
Articles: Top 51 - Camera Reviews4 - TV ReviewsProduct Reviews: Top 51 - Sony RX1003 - Sony WX1005 - Sony HX20V
Reviews Coming This Week
Pentax K-30 SLR review, coming later today
Here's a quick reminder of our weekly schedule so you know what to look out for:
Mondays: displays, including monitors and TVs. Tuesdays: cameras, camcorders and peripherals. Wednesdays: hardware components and printers. Thursdays: mobiles, smartphones and audio equipment. Fridays: laptops, notebooks, buyer's guides. Saturdays and Sundays: insight and analysis.
- Monday: we kicked off the week with the LG 42PA4500, a low-cost plasma TV.
- Tuesday: we'll be getting our hands on the Pentax K-30, an enthusiast-level SLR complete with weather-resistant body. In the afternoon, we'll be reviewing the Street by 50 headphones.
- Wednesday: we'll be comparing three Blu-ray players at different price points to find out whether image quality is really any different from one model to the next.
- Thursday: we'll be reviewing the Griffin Crayola ColorStudio HD tablet stylus, before checking out the Samsung Galaxy Mini 2 smartphone.
- Friday: we'll be taking stock of the new ultrabook notebook market, before testing Apple's 2012 13" MacBook Air laptop.
I'm looking for
Sony Xperia Tablet ZNikon Coolpix S31