Gadget Zone: Tablet computer, a new Blackberry and a Titanium ride

Gadget-TabletJames Careless —

The warm weather has finally returned, and with it, lots of time to spend outdoors relaxing with the latest consumer tech. Here are a few ideas to while away your time, courtesy of:

The Gadget Zone

Tablet computers have come a long way when it comes to adding capabilities, improving the quality of their displays, getting thinner and lighter, and dropping in price. Acer’s Iconia One 8 and Iconia One 10 hit all of these targets nicely. Basically the 8″ and 10″ WXHA display versions of Acer’s tablets, both Iconias run the Android operating system using the MediaTek Cortex A53 MT8163 processor Quad-core (1.30 GHz), are Wi-Fi capable, and have 16 GB of Flash Memory.

Gadget-BlackberryThe colour on both units is crisp and clean; the connection to the Web fast and reliable over my home wireless router, and I can even control my Bell Fibe service using the tablet and the Bell Fibe app. The best thing is the price: $149.99 for the 8″ version, and $199.99 for the 10″ Iconia tablet. More at

I have been a BlackBerry fan since the first model, which was essentially a two-line pager with a QWERTY keyboard. But none have impressed me as much as the Silver edition Blackberry Passport, which combines a generous 4.5″ square full colour display with Blackberry’s physical full-motion QWERTY keyboard – no on-screen buttons here ! – a 13 Megapixel rear-facing camera for photos and videos (and a 2 Megapixel front-facing camera for videoconferencing), 32 GB of memory (expandable to 128 GB), 4G LTE cellular connectivity, and Wi-Fi.

The best thing about the Passport is that the keyboard is actually pleasant to use, the display is easy to watch videos on, and the whole thin package (less than a centimetre thick) fits nicely into a jacket pocket/purse. Pull out this device, and you will look distinctive and cool; it’s not just another cookie-cutter smartphone. $649 at

Gadget-CarThe 2016 Ford Fiesta Titanium is a neat little four-door subcompact (sedan or hatchback) that I drove recently on an Ottawa-Toronto round trip. Despite its small size, the Titanium is a zippy little speedster with lots of power for city and highway driving; sensitive and responsive steering, and very comfortable seats and amenities inside. For those who like specs, the Titanium comes with an automatic transmission, a 1.6-litre four-cylinder engine with 120 hp and 112 lb/ft of torque, a SYNC3 voice-recognition entertainment/navigation system with a 6.5″ centre LCD touch screen and rear backup camera, baseball-stitched leather seats, and other items that make it list for around $25,000. More at; I like this car!