Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Dopod D818c: CDMA PDA PHONE


Compared to GSM version, there is not so many PDA Phone based on CDMA network which available. This opportunity takes by Dopod (or now HTC) when releasing Dopod D818c.

Using Dopod D818Pro frame, it is not strange if the appearance of Dopod D818c same as the brother which based on GSM network. The only way to differentiate it is when you tum on the. If D818Pro casing is available in 5 color choice, Dopod D818c only have one color. Dark color of course impressing elegant, but in parallel with dearly shows your finger spot which as described on the gleam surface.

This PDA phone has dual band technology, can be attached with RUIM card from all CDMA operators. Not found the setting for injection number. When tum on, PDA phone direct recognizes the applied operator network, and set its configuration. We can easily changes operator and Network Wizard setting.

2 Megapixel CMOS camera applicable to take a picture and also records a video. Unhappily flash light is not available. Camera setting still same as the GSM version, 2,8 inch screen with QVGA resolution its enough to enjoy photo display and also video. With addition memory slot, capacities can be added when the intemal memory is full.

Dopod figures Intemet Sharing for intemet connectivity. Even not supported EVDO technology, video streaming in this PDA phone can be said not bad. But unfortunately, we can't find video call facility.

Bluetooth 2.0 support with A2DP and AVRCP enables us to exploit Bluetooth accessory, the example, headset or speaker, to listen music. Plus the Audio Manager to arrange outputs sound. But, sad to say, the sound produce by speaker is still standard. Better if you applies headset. For microphone is provided AGC Microphone setting.

In software equipment, JBLEND is available to organize Java application installation in the device. Dopod also adds Adobe Reader LE to read PDF file, Voice Speed Dial which uses voice to command the application, and Zip for file compression.

Price range
Dopod D818c: $500

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Canon MD120: Pure Camcorder, Easy to Use


Don’t be confuse although this the first time you operates Canon MD120. Its buttons not many, thus small possibility for push wrong buttons. To open the lens cover, shift slider in lens left side towards under. The next, open 2,7 inch LCD, then push and turning the big button in unit right side to camera mark. Then, use your thumb to push the white button in side joystick to start records. For zooming, use forefinger to push uppermost button in upright side towards left or right.

Differs from other brand which we try, display controller button at MD120 is placed at the bottom of screen. So we have to use both hand: right hand for support camcorder, while left hand does the control: locates left forefinger alongside the LCD side when your thumbs push Func buttons (to shows menu), and movement then push joystick.

Other way - remain to apply both hands - open and turning LCD then pushs until get-together to camcorder body, then did arrangement with right thumbs. At this way, LCD display automaticly will be turned around follows the screen orientation. If do not willing to be busy arranges by yourself the contrast, white balance, or else, select; just chooses Easy mode ( pushs button above unit).

Don’t worry, to operate the MD120 still able to be done with one hand - although, we must learn bends thumb when wish to move from Record mode to Play. From quality side, MD120 is good: sharply and bright. The zoom is also smooth. To stabilize the shake, Canon has planted picture stabiliser which having elektronic character. For you that like to create something different, there is available some scene and digital effect: changes video to B&W or sephia, makes mosaic from image, starts scene with fade effect, and others. Colour reproduction of MD120 can be said fine, although sometimes the red color is overweening.

If uou are a newbie and doesn't require function of camera at camcorder, Canon MD120 may be chosen. Its operation is easy, while the record quality of its good enough. The price - remembers its big LCD – so captivates. Usage of miniDV also give plus point, because miniDV cassette is cheap, and easy to be got everywhere. But this camcorder is incompatible for they who expecting high quality and rich facility camcorder.

Price range
Canon MD120: $340

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Sunday, October 28, 2007

LG L1770HQ: Futuristic Design


One of excellence from LCD monitor is its slim shape, so more efficiently, but LG L1770HQ can be said brings separate enchantment because of its slim. The panel is only has 21 mm thickness, one of the slimmest which you can found. Its screen rest is also unique, because can be arranged the height and inclination with easily. With synchronization of classy black color and silver, no wonder if this monitor got award from Reddot and iF Product Award in 2006.

The front side of this LCD it so minimalists without manual setting button. Seemingly the manual setting button is hidden in its display. Auto adjust image configuration setting its still available even you not guaranteed to like the result. Like other LG LCD newest model product, location of D-sub port, DVI and adapter, impressed restrained from body monitor by the way putting down this connection at bezel backside.

As usual, LG applies f-Engine and DFC (Digital of Fine Contrast) technology to present natural colors which so fascinating in every movement of picture. Movement also seen is pleasant cause 2ms response time and 3000:1 contrast ratio which so high.

As a whole, LG L1770HQ offers accurate color gradation that expressing quality of this monitor. Sweet design, futuristic and excellence of technology is good point for this LCD. The price of course is rather expensive and it’s not having widescreen format but the beauty of the design and technology making LG L1770HQ its good to decorate your workbench.

Price range
LG L1770HQ: $265

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Anmo Dino AM-351 Digital Microscope: Your Microscope at Home


Sees detail of micro object is not exclusive must be done in laboratory while closed one of your eye. With Dino AM-351 Digital Microscope, you can see micro world passed PC or TV in house.

Dino AM-351 made to see the micro object with more comfortable and easy. Even its display alike a toy microscope, doesn't assume petty its ability in presenting micro object detail. Because of 3 lens micro owned by Dino AM-351, you can see the object start 10 to 600 times bigger than the original. 4 LED is functioning as the object illuminator nor be left planted in this peripheral.

Dino AM-351 has USB connector and 2 port RCA for audio and video. If using PC, you must select USB port, whereas 2 ports RCA may directly be connected to TV or similar peripheral having this connector. Addition power for LED operational is put down by Anmo below peripheral, right on side with LED switch button.

Easy uses and its compatibility with various USB port is plus value for AM-351. Unfortunately, Anmo only supplies VGA camera (640x480) in AM-351. But, the available micro lens we think have been good enough to see object clearly.

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STE PMP33: For Gamer and Music lover


Bored with your traditional music and video player? PMP33 from STE is coming. Looks like PSP, this game gadget of course more shows its function as game portable. File support from .sfc game format (Nintendo and Super Nintendo) which can be downloading will make addictive.

Besides four directions navigation button and other access buttons, PMP33 is equipped with 2,4 inch (320x240) screen. The horizon design (PSP wannabe) makes you easier to play the game. As music and video player, PMP33 become very pleasing friend. Interesting icon menu display and internal speaker hardly supports your pleasure.

As complement, it also presents integrated camera function. This makes your great moments can be handle, both for the still photo or video. But you only get good result if you get enough lighting. The video also can enjoy through television screen via USB mini port (A/V out).

PMP33 can be said as great friend to spend your time. Beside its function as player of MP3, video, and picture this gadget applicable to play game. Very effective to thrown away your stress. Big capacities (plus addition memory slot) makes it as potential portable media. A few weaknesses because the camera quality tends to so-so and low read and write speed. But with price which relatively cheap, it’s more than enough?

Price range
STE PMP33: $75

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Sennheiser PC166 USB: Comfort and Flexible


Audio Device Company from Germany, Sennheiser, returns to introduce the new product which will satisfy you ear, its PC166 USB. Available USB Connector explicitly shows that this equipment of course made especially for PC user.

Use PC166 USB when playing game of course so passionate, you would feel like the situation of the game. Not only that, you also can apply it to enjoy film and music. Although the bass element is not so special, but mid to high frequency can be enjoy clearly and accurate.

PC166 USB microphone is equipped by noise-canceling feature, made you can do two directions communications clearly. It’s suited for playing interactive game and VoIP activity. The hilt which can be moved up and down likely less suited for user having wide face.

Good design and powerful performance is the plus point of PC166 USB. Cable roller, volume control and mic also present for easier the usage. More, this product has 2 years warranty. The prices which around US$ 145 of course make us think again, but match for quality given.

Price range
Sennheiser PC166 USB: $145

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Canon ixus 960IS: Now with Image Stabilizer


OIS (Optical Image Stabilization) feature is becomes standard facility in supercompact camera, especially for camera which offering lengths enough optic zoom. Because the shake effect / hand wobble which causing picture looks blur easier to happen in this kind of cameras, especially when you operated it only with one hands.

Because of its, ISO feature which planted at Canon ixus 960IS becomes goods news. Moreover when compared to its previous product, ixus 900 Ti, ixus 960IS zoom ability is rather higher, that is 3,7x. There is not only the zoom ability which increase, but also the picture resolution. This supercompact camera which its body made from titanium now offers 12 megapixel resolutions.

Equipped with LCD Purecolor 2,5" in the backside plus the optical viewfinder, ixus 960IS has carried Canon Face Detection technology which can detect until four face which facing forwards so that the faces seen clearer. The face is automatically selected through algorithm with Intelligent Scene Analysis (iSAPS), technology from Canon, to get focus, get exposure and had optimal blitz. Meanwhile, red eye can be corrected via Red Eye Correction feature.

Processor support from DIGIC III is claimed by Canon causing the camera which able to receive SD/SDHC/MMC card is has quick response, not only when startup, but also is autofocus and shutter respond, plus saving more the battery power. ISO Auto Shift also has been planted, so you when press the button will cause camera automatically increases the ISO speed. Besides at 960IS, almost similar feature can find on ixus 860IS which has 8 megapixel resolutions.

Price range
Canon ixus 960IS: $499.40 - $758.00

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Saturday, October 27, 2007

Canon Xeed SX60: High Class Technology


From many various projector technology choices, LCOS (Liquid Crystal on Silicon) can be called as best technology in the case of quality. This technology applies liquid crystal layer like LCD technology, but shows the picture based on bound like LDP technology. This way merges excess at the same time eliminates lacking of LCD technology and LDP. Projector bases on LCD so accurate in color, but because consisted of pixels, will produce matrix pixel which its form like nets light. While LDP technology fails in accurate of the color, but can yield smooth picture. Because the combination of both technologies, LCOS can produce the greatest picture.

Canon also applies this LCOS technology at their newest projector, Xeed SX60. Besides usage of high class technology, Xeed SX60 also is equipped with other great specification; SXGA+ resolution (1400pixel x 1050 pixel), 2500 ANSI powered lamp, and optical with 1,7x zoom ability. No wonder if this projector have really luxurious price, which is $ 3900.

But can be said that the price good match for quality given. When we are testing it with Eizo Test software, this projector can produce satisfying quality. Primary color accuration like red, yellows, and blue seen accurate, so also the secondary color like purple, green, and orange. Its sharpness nor disappoints, seen from its ability presenting small size text. The weakness is in its contrast ratio, because only can differentiate black gradation between 18-21% (compares to InFocus IN-36 which able to differentiate between 15-18%). But the number actually has been above the average, so that in quality XEED SX60 is one of best projector which we tested.

We also likes its lens which having zoom ability until 1,7x. Its make this projector can produce big picture projection though in short distance. When we try it at around 3 meters distance, the picture which produce reaches 154 x 115 cm. This shows XEED SX60 also able to be applied even in a small space.

With the price range at $ 3900, Canon Xeed SX60 of course is not for standard usage. This projector more compatibly if you applied it for big sized meeting space or when you wish to build your home cinema.

Price range
Canon Xeed SX60: $3900

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Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Xerox Phaser 8560MFP/D: As Solid as Its Ink


Solid-ink printers are designed to compete with color lasers, offering laser-like speed and output quality. They’re pretty much exclusive to Xerox, whose latest, the Phaser 8560MFP/D, is among the more impressive laser-class all-in-ones I’ve seen.

Solid-ink printers are best for an offi ce that can keep the printer running all night so that the ink stays melted. The 8560MFP/D is a whiz at paper handling, with a standard 625-sheet paper capacity and a 1,675-sheet maximum with optional trays. It also has a built-in duplexer.

The 8560MFP/D went through our business applications suite in 10 minutes 31 seconds, faster than the fastest color laser AIO I’ve tested. It also prints photos quickly, averaging 23 seconds for a 4-by-6 and 36 seconds for an 8-by-10.

The 8560MFP/D’s output quality is superb. Text is a bit below ideal. Graphics were good enough for any internal business need. Photos were superior for a laser-class printer, good enough to pass as true photo quality at arm’s length.

If you’re looking for a color laser AIO, don’t rule out a solid-ink unit. The Xerox Phaser 8560MFP/D offers an effective balance of speed, output quality, and features for a small to midsize office.

Price
Xerox Phaser 8560MFP/D: $2,000 street

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ASUS U1F: An LED-Lit Ultraportable


The ASUS U1F is a sweet ultraportable with awesome picture quality and an innovative design. It’s a traveler’s delight, packing a lot of appealing features, but one thing you’ll miss is an optical drive.

Thanks to LED backlighting, the U1F’s 11.1-inch screen looks magnificent. Digital photos and even YouTube videos look amazing under low light. However, the screen is very sensitive to glare coming from any light source above you. ASUS uses a magnesium-aluminum alloy in its frame to protect the screen, which is only 5mm (0.2 inches) thick.

The small form factor presents challenges to ultraportable manufacturers. It’s unfortunate that ASUS didn’t integrate an optical drive, as Panasonic, Toshiba, and Sony have managed to do on similar lightweight systems. (See the review of Sony’s VAIO VGN-TZ150N, page 50.) Another nit is that the U1F runs a weak ultra-low-voltage (ULV) 1.06-GHz Intel Core Duo U2400 processor, which hampers performance. Also, its hard drive spins at just 4,200 rpm.

The keyboard is a bit unwieldy, though the leather on the palm rests is a nice touch. The touchpad is responsive, but the mouse buttons were difficult to press. The U1F has four USB ports, rare on such a small system, and adds a FireWire port, an ExpressCard slot, and a 4-in-1 card reader.

The U1F has a peculiar RAM configuration. It comes with 1.5GB of memory (a 512MB and a 1GB module), enough to run Windows Vista Business. Still, I’d have liked to see a full 2GB of RAM.

Good battery life is just one of the things we like in this 2.7-pound wonder. The battery lasted 2 hours 48 minutes running a DVD; you’d probably get 5 to 6 hours on more basic tasks. I’d like the U1F better, though, with an integrated optical drive and a little more power.

Price
ASUS U1F: $2,100 street

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HP Officejet Pro K5400dtn Color Printer: Laser-Class Ink Jet


If you’re looking for a color printer for a small office, you might go with an inexpensive laser printer. Or you might pick the HP Officejet Pro K5400dtn Color Printer, an ink jet with many of the qualities of a color laser, at a much lower price and running costs.

The K5400dtn has laser-like speed on text, finishing our business suite in 8 minutes 49 seconds, a record for standard ink jets. But photo speed was not very good, averaging 2:25 (min:sec) for a 4-by-6 and 5:22 for an 8-by-10. Like a laser, the K5400dtn is optimized for business printing, and that includes output quality. Text and graphics were decent though not laser-quality), but photos fell short. Colors were often too punchy, and prints prone to smudging.

Paper-handling capability is strong, thanks to the two paper trays and duplexer. The K5400dtn is priced inexpensively, and at 1.5 cents for a blackand-white page and 6 cents for a color page, the company’s claimed cost per page is relatively low.

When it comes to quality, the K5400dtn may not be a match for a laser, but small offices may find it a good substitute.

Price
HP Officejet Pro K5400dtn Color Printer: $249.99 direct

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Sony VAIO VGN-TZ150N: Laptop’s Beauty Is Only Skin-Deep


Laptop manufacturers are putting their focus on design these days, and they’ve come out with some amazingly sleek and sexy creations. This is fine—as long as they don’t forget that performance and features are an important part of the mix. The Sony VAIO VGN-TZ150N epitomizes elegance. It’s a featherweight (2.7-pound) ultraportable with a gorgeous, LED-enhanced screen, a raised keyboard, and a durable carbon-fiber frame. Too bad that Sony hasn’t paid equal attention to what’s beneath the snazzy exterior. If you need a system to keep you productive, you’ll run into a few snags with this one.

The TZ150N has some top-notch features: LED backlighting that makes viewing the 11.1-inch screen a joy, a dual-layer DVD burner, a Sprint EV-DO Rev A modem—and a webcam, which, as far as I know, is unique in a system weighing less than 3 pounds.

Not so hot is the 1.06-GHz ultra-low-voltage (ULV) Intel Core 2 Duo U7500 processor; nor does it help that the system comes with only 1GB of RAM. (You’ll want to double that to do justice to Windows Vista Business.) Then there’s the hard drive. Although its capacity (100GB) is adequate, it spins at only 4,200 rpm. Worse, the system is loaded with bloatware: no less than 30 VAIO apps, plus lots of trial ware such as Corel Snapfire, Microsoft Office 2007, and Norton Internet Security.

One advantage to the TZ150N’s low power is that it extends battery life. The unit lasted almost 4 hours (3:47) playing back a DVD, which translates into roughly 6 or 7 hours’ worth of more routine tasks. But long battery life doesn’t make up for feeble components, especially considering that the TZ150N carries the price tag of a luxury item.

Price
Sony VAIO VGN-TZ150N: $2,299 direct

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Sunday, October 21, 2007

Iomega eGo: Storage to Go


Pocket USB hard drives are all the rage. One of the more attractive and reasonably priced offerings is the Iomega eGo. The drive packs 160GB of storage capacity into its red, chrome-accented frame. It’s shielded from tumbles and comes with a fine backup program—at least if you’re a Microsoft Windows user.

Designed to be economical, the eGo offers a better cost per gigabyte ($1) than many of its peers. Its hard drive yields decent performance, taking 54 seconds to copy our 1.2GB test folder, which is fast enough for backup or data transfer. The drive is rated to survive a fall of 51 inches—at least when it’s not plugged in and operating.

The eGo comes with a license for a good backup program, EMC’s Retrospect HD. Retrospect can protect both document folders and entire hard drives, including the operating system and applications. But the drawback is that you have to download the program from Iomega’s support site. Worse, it works only on Windows systems.

All in all, the eGo is a solid portable hard drive for storing and transporting your digital life. It should be on your short list if you’re looking for more storage for your laptop or home PC.

Price
Iomega eGo: $160 street

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Canon Pixma Pro9000: Photo Prints Fit for Framing


Almost any ink jet printer can churn out decent photos, particularly at small sizes. But to get exceptional quality, and to print on fine-art papers at sizes up to 13 by 19 inches, you need a high-end printer built for professional photographers or serious amateurs. The Canon Pixma Pro9000 may just fill the bill. The Pro9000 packs an eight-color ink system, designed both to widen the range of colors it can print and to reproduce the subtle shading that makes skin tones look realistic and rounded objects look three-dimensional.

Although it can serve as an all-purpose printer in a pinch, the Pro9000 is clearly built for photos: The default paper setting in the driver is for photo paper. Slower than its rivals, the Pro9000 ran through our business applications suite at a lackadaisical 25:58 (min:sec), but nobody is going to buy it to output spreadsheets. And although print speed is far less important than output quality for photos, its worth noting that, in its price class, the Pro9000 is the fastest photo printer I’ve tested, averaging 1:06 for each 4-by-6 print and 2:05 for each 8-by-10.

Photo quality is equally impressive. When tested with semigloss fine-art paper, the Pro9000 earned a perfect score on almost every point I use to evaluate color prints. The only shortcoming as a slight tint on a monochrome photo. I also printed our standard photo suite on a range of other papers. With matte paper, the quality was just as good for color photos and better for monochrome prints, which were free of tint. I also printed an assortment of photos on several of Canon's fine art papers, including Museum Etching, Photo Rag, Premium Matte, and Semi-Gloss. I was so impressed with the results that I plan to frame several of the photos.

Graphics quality is also superior, with no notable flaws. This makes the Pro9000 a fine choice for graphic artists. Its text output was a little bit below par for an ink jet, particularly with more stylized, non-business fonts, but few people will be using the Pro9000 to print text.

At 7.6 by 26.0 by 14.0 inches (HWD) and 30.8 pounds, the Pro9000 is larger and heavier than most ink jets. You’ll need extra room in the front and back to print on large-size paper, in effect making the printer’s footprint 26 by 26 inches. But for most photo enthusiasts, the Pro9000’s spectacular prints will be well worth the extra space it takes up.

For photo quality in its price range, the Pro9000 can’t be beat. About its only real drawback is that, if you print a lot of photos in a single session, you may find that one or another of its eight ink cartridges will always seem to be on the brink of needing replacement.

Price
Canon Pixma Pro9000: $499.99 list

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Helio Fin / Samsung SPH-M513 Review: Thin but Short-Lived

Helio Fin
Take a look at this sweet, svelte little cell. It happens to be the thinnest phone yet from Helio, the extremely Web-friendly cellular carrier, and the company’s best camera phone, too. But with its slim body also comes an annoyingly short battery life.

The Fin is a very good voice phone. Calls sound clear, with no hiss, though the speakerphone is somewhat quiet. For Helio users, however, voice is just where handhelds begin. This cell has the de rigueur MP3/AAC player supporting 4GB memory cards, though there’s no integration with Windows Media Player. (Better PC media software will come soon, Helio says.) With its big 2.3-inch, 320-by-240-pixel screen, you can navigate full Web pages, check multiple e-mail accounts including Yahoo! and Windows Live, or log on to MySpace. The ability to read Microsoft Office attachments in e-mails is a bonus. A 3-megapixel camera takes photos that but look a bit washed out in daylight and have a tendency to blur under low light.

But the Fin’s performance felt sluggish at times, the flat keypad was a bit difficult to use, and battery life was pathetic, providing less than 3 hours of talk time. This brief battery life hurts, especially because this is a phone you’d want to use for extensive gaming and Web browsing. Helio’s Ocean, while larger, is a much better platform for the cellular carrier’s rich set of Web and messaging services.

Price
Helio Fin: $375 direct, $175 with contract

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Westinghouse TX-47F430S: HDMI Ports Galore, and More


There’s no disputing that HDTVs look their best when displaying high-definition video, and the ideal way to transmit this pristine high-def signal is over an HDMI cable. That’s the draw for Westinghouse Digital’s affordable new 47-inch LCD set. This well-priced TV boasts a total of four HDMI ports for your viewing pleasure.

The TX-47F430S measures 31.4 by 46.1 by 9.8 inches (HWD) with its base attached, and weighs in at 71.6 pounds. On-display controls consist of a series of thin buttons along the right side of the TV’s frame. A lone Westinghouse logo adorns the bottom bezel, as does an unobtrusive blue power-indicator light. The TX-47F430S’s two integrated 10W speakers are concealed within the TV’s frame along the bottom edge and fire downward. The set delivers ample volume for a large room, and an integrated subwoofer (15W) helps balance the system’s otherwise bright sound.

Watching standard-definition video using DVD and satellite television sources revealed that the TX-47F430S’s picture was a bit too colorful. Light skin tones were excessively green, and grass lawns tended to look eerily electric, likely a “feature” designed to grab the attention of outdoor sports fans. Also distracting, at viewing angles of 20 degrees or more, was screen glare that overwhelmed the corners and edges of the picture, resulting in decreased image contrast. Apart from that, the set’s results on the HD HQV Benchmark test DVD were among the best I’ve seen; I recorded perfect performance within the HQV’s film resolution loss tests. In fact, the TX-47F430S is one of only two HDTVs I’ve reviewed that properly process 24p video material encoded in 1080i format.

Sadly, contrast was another story. I configured the TX-47F430S for dark-room, eye-friendly viewing by lowering the backlight control, which produced a respectable but still relatively bright 0.25 Cd/m2 black level with a nearly identical contrast ratio of 463:1. Power consumption measurements put the monthly operating cost of the TX-47F430S at a relatively pricey $10.65 with the backlight set to maximum. I based my calculations on 8 hours of daily operation with a kilowatt-hour cost of $0.13. This was more than $3 higher than any similarly sized LCD I’ve measured to date.

Despite the set’s competitive price, videophiles may be put off by the TV’s oversaturated green, relatively poor black levels, low gamma response, and lack of video noise reduction controls. I did find the TX-47F430S’s picture quality more appealing, however, once its color was calibrated to realistic levels.

Price
Westinghouse TX-47F430S: $1,799.99

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Friday, October 19, 2007

Apple iPod nano (3rd generation): Pocket-Size Yet Plenty Powerful


Since its inception, the only thing Apple’s small player ever really lacked was the ability to screen video—a trick that didn’t mesh with the iTunes Store’s commitment to TV shows and film downloads. Sporting a bright, 2-inch widescreen that shows video in the highest pixel-per-inch count of any iPod ever, the nano is an entirely new beast.

The flash player, which comes in 4GB and 8GB capacities, is wider than previous models. But when you hold it alongside a second-generation nano, its widened dimensions don’t seem to matter: A beautiful screen and a just-as-thin body make the device seem like a huge evolutionary step for the line. The new user interface combines the nicer touches of the iPhone’s slick UI—like Cover Flow—with novel elements (a split screen that shows album covers for highlighted songs and a new Now Playing screen).

File support offers no surprises. For audio, the nano plays AAC (16 to 320 Kbps)—including, obviously, DRM and DRM-free tracks from iTunes, MP3 (all bit rates, including VBR), Audible files, AIFF, and WAV. If you have WMA fi les, loading them into iTunes automatically converts them to AAC, so while there’s no compatibility, there is at least a workaround. Video support is the typical Apple array: H.264 and MPEG-4.

The new main menu has a split screen, dividing the space equally between the familiar iPod menu lists on the left and a moving image of an album cover, photo, or video on the right. When no tune is playing, the main menu shows a variety of album covers slowly fl oating by, with specifi c spots zoomed in on. It’s a nice look.

I found video performance to be exceptional. The player has the same resolution as the old iPod video (now called the classic) but applied to a screen that’s a half-inch smaller. The result is an even sharper picture. When the new Brightness setting is adjusted to the highest level, the new nano's screen is much brighter than the previous model’s, as well. (Apple claims it’s a 65 percent difference.)

The nano is not without its flaws. The video output function is listed on the menu but cannot be switched on. Its inclusion implies that this function will be available with Tunes upgrades down the road, but for the time being, there’s no way to watch nano-loaded video on your TV or video iPod dock.

Also, Cover Flow, while beautiful and useful, trips up occasionally during fast scrolling. Album covers appear to have jagged edges, and sometimes the artwork takes a moment to appear. The feature is not nearly as sexy as it is on the iPhone.

Even with these minor flaws, nothing beats the nano in its price range. Throw in the few bundled games with quality graphics and you’ve got yourself a winner.

Apple iPod nano (3rd generation):
4GB, $149 list; 8GB, $199

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Nokia E65 Review: Business-Class Cellular

Nokia E65
A classy pin-striped suit of a phone, Nokia’s new handset gives you smartphone power with a dignified feature-phone look. With its aluminum faceplate and snappy slide-out keypad, the E65’s build is unusually solid and feels decidedly rich. Watch out, though, as some of this cell’s keys may be too small for the ham-thumbed.

The E65 is a Symbian Series 60 smartphone with unusually speedy EDGE data support, as well as Wi-Fi. Voice calls sounded clear, though the speakerphone’s sound level was low. The built-in e-mail client works with POP/IMAP accounts and third-party software can let you edit Office documents. Nokia’s Web browser, which handles full pages, is the best available on any mobile platform. The bundled music player app had no trouble with MP3 tracks but couldn’t play unprotected iTunes Plus AAC files. For pictures, an internal 2-megapixel camera takes detailed, grayish photos with good light balance. Battery life, at 7 hours and 44 minutes of talk time, is pretty good.

Sold as an unlocked device, E65 is especially appealing to world travelers, who appreciate the ability to swap in foreign SIM cards. But any professional could warm up to this solid GSM handset, which may look and act like an ordinary phone but offers a host of smartphone features.

Price
Nokia E65: $449 direct

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TomTom GO 720: A GPS that’s Always Up to Date


Keeping GPS maps and POIs (points of interest) up to date is a gargantuan task. TomTom tries to alleviate this problem with its innovative Map Share technology, along with a little help from drivers like you.

When you first power up the TomTom GO 720, you notice a new Map Corrections icon in the main menu. From here, you can make edits such as reversing traffic direction, changing a street name, and adding or augmenting POIs. You can also specify which types of changes you’d like to download: yours, those verified by TomTom, or ones from “trusted sources.” The included USB dock makes it simple to connect to your PC for updates.

The 7.8-ounce GO 720 sports a sleek new design, too: a 4.3-inch WQVGA touch screen display and a Bluetooth speakerphone interface. Its GPS receiver performed on a par with those of other devices using the ubiquitous SiRFstarIII, and there were no surprises in my road tests.

The TomTom Jukebox media player is the best I’ve seen in a PND, offering a variety of search options and audio book support. Furthermore, the GO 720 includes text-to-speech conversion, with the option to purchase celebrity voices.

There’s a lot to like about the TomTom GO 720, not least of which is the promise of easy map updates, as well as communitybased road and POI fixes.

Price
TomTom GO 720: $499.95 list

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Fuji FinePix Z5fd: Ultracompact With Awesome Auto Controls


A sturdy build, quick performance, and useful advanced automatic features give this Fuji 6.3-megapixel ultracompact a big competitive edge.

Stylish and available in four colors, the Z5fd has a sliding front cover that acts as the power switch and also protects the lens and built-in fl ash. Geared toward auto-shooting, the camera features 12 scene modes, as well as a mode that takes a quick pair of shots—one with fl ash and one without—and lets you save the one you prefer. Its 3X zoom lens has a focal length of 36mm to 108mm, with a maximum aperture of f/3.5 on the wide end and f/4.2 when zoomed in. The Z5fd’s 2.5-inch LCD is flexible in that you can adjust its brightness and refresh rate.

In both daylight and flash shots, images were well exposed and exhibited realistic color. One serious problem, however, was the heavy processing that left visible noise in my images. At the camera’s maximum ISO setting (1600), this noise made images look more like pastel drawings than like photographs. But when it came to performance, the Z5fd excelled, with a boot-up time of 2.7 seconds, a 2.3-second recycle time, and a 1-second shutter lag.

Despite its image problems, the well-crafted Fuji Z5fd is a good buy with a set of features typically found in more expensive models.

Price
Fuji FinePix Z5fd: $199.99 list

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Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Apple Ipod Touch: A New Player Masterpiece


When the iPhone came out in June, many people (including me) loved it but wanted it without the phone—and without that pesky two-year AT&T Wireless contract. With the new iPod touch, the company has answered our prayers and even added a Wi-Fi version of the iTunes Music Store. Now you can download tracks anywhere there’s Wi-Fi.

Apple has announced a partnership with Starbucks that enables iPhone and touch owners to purchase songs they hear in Starbucks stores via Wi-Fi. It would be nice if the Wi-Fi store offered video purchases—currently its music only. And, yes, the earbuds still suck. But these are my only complaints, and they’re minor. The relatively hefty prices don’t bug me either. Why? Because this is probably the best portable media player ever made.

On the iPod touch and iPhone, navigation of the music, video, and photo menus is identical, as is the excellent combo of the multitouch screen and the Safari Web browser. Both players load and sync with iTunes and can be managed much the same way manually. The touch is much skinnier than the iPhone, however, and that pesky recessed headphone jack is gone—as is the ability to send e-mail (unless you use a Web-based program like Gmail). The YouTube features are nearly identical, except that the iPod touch does not allow users to send clip links to friends.

The excellent Cover Flow, part of iTunes and featured on the iPhone, arranges albums alphabetically in a horizontal array using the albums’ cover art. Double-click for music controls Drag your fi nger across the display to slide the covers, as if thumbing through a virtual vinyl collection. Clicking on the central album cover fl ips the graphic over and reveals a music tracklist. From here you can click on a song and start playing.

The real hero is the new iTunes Wi-Fi Music store. Searching for artists can be done with the virtual keyboard or via tabs such as Featured and Top Tens. Provided that your Wi-Fi signal strength is decent, downloading a song takes only seconds, and the track is immediately put into your player’s library.

Next time you plug into your PC, the songs will transfer to your computer’s library. I wish Apple would include user-adjustable EQ settings such as the ones competitors like Samsung, Sansa, and Sony build into their players. With crappy earbuds and settings like Jazz and Dance, your best bet is to leave the EQ off and upgrade your earphones. I also had hoped you could turn the Starbucks feature off—you might not want to see a corporate logo pop up whenever you walk by a store, and you’re even less likely to share Starbucks’ musical tastes. Again, these are fairly minor complaints. More signifi cant gripes? Podcast users will be disappointed that they can’t get their ’casts via the Wi-Fi store, and the store doesn’t sell video, either. . . yet.

Whenever Apple releases a new product, “fanboys” proclaim it the greatest ever, while “haters” lambaste the product and the fanboys as well. This time the fanboys are right: The iPod touch is amazing.

Price
Apple iPod touch: 8GB, $299; 16GB, $399

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Sony PSP (model 2000): Slimmer, Faster Mobile Gaming


Slimmed down and souped up, Sony’s latest handheld gaming device offers some welcome improvements over its predecessor. It boasts more RAM to make game load times a little faster, and it’s now able to output video straight to your TV.

At 2.8 by 6.6 by 0.6 inches (HWD) the new PSP has been streamlined, and its sleekness is noticeable when compared with the original (which measures 2.9 by 6.7 by 0.9 inches). The major difference between the two devices, however, is that the new PSP feels much lighter. Weighing 6.7 ounces, it’s a third lighter than its predecessor. Those seasoned by hours of game play on the original model will feel the difference instantly.

A new A/V port serves two purposes. Since the port uses the 3.5mm minijack format, it can be used with any standard headset for listening. The port also doubles as a video-out: A special cable (sold separately for about $20) lets you output your PSP games, videos, movies, and photos directly to your television or any LCD monitor via component or composite connections. Videos and photos are displayed at DVD-quality resolution (up to 720 by 480, or 480p), but games are limited to the PSP’s native resolution of 480 by 272 pixels in progressive format only. Out of juice from all those movies? Fortunately, you can fully charge the PSP via a computer’s USB port in roughly 5 hours.

The PSP’s multimedia prowess is impressive, and the new model is no different. The device can play back full-length movies on UMD (Universal Media Disc—over 450 movies are available), play a wide range of digital audio fi les, and even transfer recorded shows from TiVo (series 2) DVRs. I found that the 480p and 480i modes looked better; when the PSP upscaled video to HD resolution, the result was a slightly distorted picture. In general, AVI and H.264/MPEG-4 fi les looked fi ne on a 65-inch HDTV, and my S.W.A.T. UMD gave nearly as good a picture as you can get with a standard DVD.

Though rich on multimedia functions, the PSP’s primary focus is gaming. Most games for the PSP now rely on richly detailed 3D graphics, and more and more titles are starting to take advantage of the device’s Wi-Fi capability and offer multiplayer options. Add in the PSP’s TiVo compatibility, as well as the ability to access streaming music and video via Sony’s Location Free system or a PS3, and the PSP becomes a powerful, portable media extender, albeit pretty much tied to other Sony hardware.

All in all, the new “enhanced” PSP is a satisfying addition to any gaming enthusiast’s collection, and a must-buy for gamers who currently do not own a PSP system. The new enhancements only broaden the appeal of this already exceptional gaming device.

Price
Sony PSP (model 2000): $169.99 direct

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HTC Advantage: Phone, Laptop in One


At 12.7 ounces, this massive device is meant to be an ├╝ber-PDA—a handheld for adventurous computer enthusiasts who wish they could inject their Treo with steroids. It can replace a laptop in more situations than any other smartphone on the market, but it doubles as a phone only when you wear a headset or use the speakerphone.

Though the Advantage’s top-end 624-MHz Marvell PXA270 processor aced our benchmark tests, the unit still felt pokey. But built-in HSDPA and Wi-Fi didn’t disappoint, grabbing speeds approximating 700 Kbps on the AT&T network. The device’s keyboard is big, but fl at and soft.

The Advantage makes a handy in-car GPS, thanks to its big 5-inch screen and TeleNav’s built-in GPS Navigator 5.1 software. One button press gets TeleNav to reroute you around tie-ups. The device runs Windows Mobile, so you can sync e-mail, calendar, and contacts with Microsoft Outlook 2003 and 2007, and the unit can receive push Exchange e-mail. Office Mobile still needs work, though: I saw formatting errors in some documents, which limits the handset’s usefulness when editing important fi les. You can save data to the internal 8GB hard drive or to a miniSD card.

The Advantage could bridge the gap between handhelds and laptops, but for $900 you might as well buy a laptop and get a free phone from your carrier.

Price
HTC Advantage: $899.99 list

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Motorola Q9m (Verizon): Sophisticated, but Sluggish


This latest smartphone for Verizon pairs excellent call quality with a top-notch keyboard, making it a strong Windows Mobile choice. I just wish it felt a little quicker.

The Q9m’s keyboard is the biggest change from the old Motorola Q. The larger, rectangular keys are easier to settle your fingers on (which helps prevent mistyping), and they depress with satisfying clicks. All but the most ham-handed will fl y over this smartphone's keyboard.

A superior phone, the Q9m has very strong reception. The earpiece and especially the speakerphone are unusually loud and clear, and ringtones sound terrific.

Verizon has updated the Q9m with a lot of useful new software. At the head of the pack is DataViz DocumentsToGo for Windows Mobile 6, which lets you view PDFs and view, edit, and create Microsoft Offi ce documents. Also, it’s Word-, Excel-, and PowerPoint-compatible apps are refreshing oases of cutting and pasting. Verizon’s new media-player home screen is less accommodating, but you don’t have to use it.

The Q9m’s one problem is that it feels a bit laggy. When typing an e-mail message, I sometimes had to wait for the screen to catch up with my typing, and PDF files took quite some time to open. Still, the new Q is a powerful, flexible mobile office.

Price
Motorola Q9m (Verizon): $199 to $349.99 list

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Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Samsung i450: Dual Slider Smartphone


After representing their newest fashionable phones some times ago, now Samsung is trying to present the smartphone portfolio. The newest product is Samsung i450.

The design concept is adopting Nokia N95 construction: “dual of slider”. Its mean, the up and bottom folder can be shifted at the opposite direction. Bottom side is present the key pad, while the upper is ornamented by great power speaker.

Do not like Samsung i620 which using Microsoft Windows Mobile 6.0 Standards Edition for the Operation System, Samsung i450 is uses Symbian Operation System 9.2. And it’s including 60 v3.1 series. TFT screen with 262.000 colors sharpness uses as information display, while the phone resolution is 320 x 240 pixels (QVGA).

This smartphone can run in 3G/ HSDPA network, and has two cameras. The main it’s already powered with 2 megapixel cameras, meanwhile the addition camera has VGA type to execute video call feature.

Samsung i450 is provides 1 GB capacities storage media. There is also available the additional microSD card slot to keep your various multimedia file for example video (MPEG4) and song which having WMA, MP3, OGG, ASF and AAC format.

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Philips Xenium 9@9z: Simple Feature with Powerful Battery


Reliable battery endurance and elegant designs still becoming reference for Philips in presenting the newest models. Through its newest series: Xenium 9@9z, Philips tries to offering the simple communication services but still at best quality.

The phone physical display reminding us to previous Xenium series: 9@9w and 9@9f. Candybar form with silver list in the navigation button. The circular construction with dimension 9,6 x 4,2 x 1,7 cm, makes Xenium 9@9z looks more tiny.

Not many feature can be exceeded from this dualband network phone. Xenium 9@9z only figure the FM radio and MP3 player as its main feature. The phone screen is still relying on CSTN type, but its sharpness already has 65.000 colors.

On this series Philips not integrated with the camera and the internet browser. To accommodate the message feature, Xenium 9@9z power is supplied by 890 mAh Lhitium Ion battery. For once times charging, this battery claimed ready to provide 1 month.

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EIZO FlexScan S2111W: Stunning Monitor for Imaging Pros


Not your typical 21-inch widescreen monitor, this 1,680-by-1,050 resolution LCD offers outstanding image quality. Just fire up the EIZO FlexScan S2111W and you’ll see one of the brightest monitors around, with color and grayscale reproduction perfectly suited to the graphics professional.

The S2111W’s superior performance comes from using a Super Patterned Vertical Alignment (SPVA) panel instead of the Twisted Nematic (TN+) film technology in must LCDs. Although the pixel response times of an SPVA panel don’t quite match those of a TN+ panel, the SPVA panel does allow the S2111W to display even the subtlest shades of light and dark gray, as well as primary and secondary colors that are vivid and rich in tone. Other EIZO technologies such as Outline and Contrast Enhancers make still images even sharper and more detailed.

Supporting the S2111W is an ArcSwing2 stand, which lets you tilt, swivel, and adjust the height of the screen but not pivot it to portrait mode. Two HDCP-compliant DVI ports and an upstream USB port are located behind the panel.

The S2111W comes with a generous five-year parts-and-labor warranty, but even so, the one-grand price tag is pretty high for the average consumer. For the imaging pro looking for outstanding performance, however, the S2111W is worth every penny.

Price
EIZO FlexScan S2111W: $1,099

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Monday, October 15, 2007

Nikon Coolpix P5000: Compact Camera with Control


With a wide range of exposure controls and a comfortable and efficient design, the 10-megapixel Coolpix P5000 is an ideal everyday companion for experienced photographers.

The P5000has a nice selection of modes, including High ISO and Anti Shake, either of which can be used to reduce blur in low-light or action shots. You get a lot of flexibility when shooting at the wide end of the camera's zoom range – 36mm – with ten aperture settings. This combined with the P5000’s effective lens-based optical image stabilization and its maximum ISO of 2000, make it a versatile low-light photographic tool. The camera includes a hot shoe and a variety of flash settings as well. Whatever the lighting situation you're dealing with, you’ll appreciate the P5000’s high-quality LCD- particularly its wide viewing angle.

In testing, I found that colors were realistic, and the automatic white balance didn't produce any color casts. Video quality was quite good for a compact camera, although audio quality was less than ideal.

This camera shares some of the shortcomings of its competitors, including noticeable image noise at higher ISO settings and less-than-optimal shooting speed. Its appeal lies in its combination of advanced features- including the external flash support - and its pocketable, comfortable design.

Price
Nikon Coolpix P5000: $399.95

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Friday, October 12, 2007

iRobot Roomba 560: A Better Robot Vacuum


The latest robot vacuum from iRobot takes a while to get the job done, but it does boast a slew of new features and improvements.

Though it still relies on a floor-situated Home Base for charging, the Roomba 560 is now beefier in size and weighs a full 8 pounds. The 560’s round, flat body is propelled by two primary wheels, each with its own motor and suspension system. The wheels are larger than in previous versions, allowing the 560 to ride higher off the ground. In addition, iRobot claims that the wheels’ motors provide more torque than ever before, helping the 560 power over plush carpeting and area rugs.

Other upgrades include a bigger dust tray (30 percent bigger, in fact) and a redesigned spinning wall brush for a longer reach. Better yet, the main chassis housing the Roomba’s sensors is now sealed, protecting against overload from dirt and debris. Also new; an onboard scheduler that lets you program the 560 to clean automatically, and a multi-room cleaning function that relies on “Virtual Wall Lighthouse” units you deploy, with care (placement is important), around your house. During my test, the Roomba could vacuum multiple rooms at a time, but sometimes had trouble returning home to recharge.

All in all, even though it takes longer than a regular upright, this robot vacuum is a nifty little cleaning machine.

iRobot Roomba 560: $349.99

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Rabbiting On

Netropa Intellinav 3: GPS That’s Priced to Move


Not only does Netropa’s latest navigation device cost less than many other GPS products, it also comes with plenty of features usually found in pricier machines.

Measuring 3.2 by 4.0 by 0.8 inches (HWD) and weighing 6.8 ounces, including the built-in lithium ion rechargeable battery, the Intellinav 3 is relatively slim and trim. Unfortunately, though, the device’s 3.5- inch touch screen has a reflective surface, making it difficult to view the display under bright, sunny conditions. Running the system is the Windows CE 5.0 OS and a SiRFstarIII GPS receiver.

A fat 2GB memory card holds a POI (points of interest) database with six million entries and includes data for Canada, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands as well as for the U.S. Historical traffic patterns are also stored and can be used for calculating more efficient routes. The device also offers a pedestrian profile.

On the road, the Intellinav 3’s text-to-speech engine did a good job of pronouncing street names, and it generated the same routes as other Navteq-based GPS products I’ve tested. I recommend it as a good choice for budget-conscious shoppers.

Netropa Intellinav 3: $329.99

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Samsung LN-T5265F: An HD Detail Destroyer


Here’s a set that proves that 1080p resolution doesn’t always guarantee a great picture. Though on paper this colorful and high-contrast 52-inch LCD HDTV has everything needed to produce a stunningly sharp picture, out of the box its high-def imagery was fuzzy, and efforts to solve the problem through a software upgrade further complicated the situation.

Removing the LN-T5265F from its factory-sealed cardboard box revealed a fully assembled HDTV complete with a rectangular-shaped swivel stand. The LCD’s glossy black bezel sports an unobtrusive Samsung logo and soft blue light centered along the lower edge. But when checking the viewing ingle, I saw noticeable loss of color saturation at 15 degrees off-axis that became worse at 20 degrees.

Samsung’s new T-series LCD now contains some menu options that were long overdue. At the top of the list of new items is a Just Scan picture size mode that attempts to display every pixel of an HD video signal. I say “attempts,” because initially I found that 720p, 1080i, and 1080p60 HD video delivered via HDMI was cropped by two or three pixels around the TV’s perimeter. Also, the HD component video input displayed an unacceptable 7 percent over scan of the screen. Only VGA input at 1080p60 and HDMI input at 1080p24 produced an image that exhibited no signs of this picture- softening over scan.

Although the LN-T5265F proved itself capable of delivering good color and contrast post-calibration, during my first round of tests its video processing unacceptably degraded the quality of HD video. My HD HQV Benchmark test results revealed that the I.N-T5265F's HDMI input was sacrificing up to half of the visual information contained within the signal of video and film-sourced content. Testing with a selection of HD DVD and Blu-ray movies confirmed that the LN-T5265F’s missing picture detail softened the image to the point of being blurry. To address this, Samsung provided me with a firmware upgrade. This update corrected the LN-T5265F’s most severe video-processing errors with 1080i HDMI input and also enabled underscan for HD component video. But folks, don’t get too excited. Unfortunately, the new firmware shifted the LN-T5265F’s 1080i HDMI problems to the TV’s component video inputs.

In Samsung’s defense, the company stated that models shipped after mid to late July 2007 should feature the updated firmware; affected owners can also call the Samsung service center and request the latest firmware available. Still, there’s no way I can recommend a $4,000 HDTV that delivers a blurry, practically half- resolution picture either over HDMI or component video connections.

Samsung LN-T5265F: $3.999.99

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