Archive for September, 2008

Blu-ray, Going Higher and Higher

September 30, 2008

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Once one decides on purchasing a TV, an LCD TV, a Plasma TV or one of the top HDTVs under $500; the next in line would most probably be DVD Players. And with CDs and DVDs making way for Blu-Rays, the race for the top DVD Players has heated up. The Blu-Ray disc or just BD is an optical disc now widely used because of its great advantages; it can store more data compared to the standard CDs and DVDs and can record, rewrite and playback high-definition video.

This innovative idea is the brain child of a group known as the Blu-Ray Disc Association, which includes almost all the top manufacturers of consumer electronics, personal computers and recording media such as Apple, Dell, HP, LG, Panasonic, Sharp, Samsung, Sony, Pioneer, Walt Disney Pictures, Thomson and so on. Though today DVDs still rule the roost, Blu-Rays are not lagging behind. The famous movie studios have released movies on BDs along with the DVDs. Most of the top manufacturers have come up with DVD players that play Blu-Ray discs.

Blu-Ray discs will take some more time to gain popularity as it all depends upon how fast the BD format becomes widespread. But that shouldn’t daunt you in checking out the latest Blu-Ray DVD players and seeing the difference between BD and DVD.


Are LCDs the Most Shopped Around Gadget?

September 30, 2008

Almost all top-notch electronics manufacturers are into making new and different models of LCD TVs and they will continue to do so. Like always, branded products are the in thing and a LCD TV is the hottest among them as it is fast disappearing from the showrooms. All major manufacturers such as Samsung, LG, Sony and Sharp have come up with different models.

The top 46 inch LCD TVs that include brands like Sceptre, Samsung, Hyundai and Sony are clear favorites among the consumers. Most manufacturers intend to invest on LCD TVs in the near future.

LCDs have superb picture quality and they consume lesser power. Another notable quality is that the issue of burn-in is relatively low or rather nil in LCDs making it a clear winner of the race. As far as affordability and life span is concerned, it is more or less the same as that of its competitors. Moreover it weighs less and is brighter compared to its greatest competitor, the Plasma TV. These are some of the significant features that make it one of the top shopped around gadgets.

Have Plasmas Really Lost their Charm?

September 27, 2008

A visit to a TV showroom is enough to let one know how far behind one is, if one is still thinking about a Plasma TV. Now is an age of LCD TVs. Most people looking for a TV, want to check out one among the Top 1080p LCD TVs. What’s so special about LCD TVs?

Plasmas which were hogging the limelight till recently have been replaced by LCD TVs. Plasma TVs which ruled the roost is now losing its preference among the consumers. When Plasma first made their appearance, there was such a craze that people joined the bandwagon without actually knowing the product inside out. It is surprising that how swiftly it’s lost its charm.

Both Plasma TVs and LCD TVs score points in terms of durability, affordability, performance, elegance and so on. And the only issue that keeps Plasmas behind is the burn-in issues. But this issue has been dealt with in the new models that are flooding the market now.

Gadget Rumors

September 19, 2008

Gadget watchers have come across a handful of unconfirmed and confirmed rumors about the latest gadgets and gear. Check out the hottest of rumors on gadgets…

BlackBerry Bold Available October 2nd

The wait is over. Just as the lines are beginning to clear at the AT&T store for the Apple iPhone, the traffic should increase again on October 2nd when rumor has it you’ll be able to pick up the highly praised BlackBerry Bold. According to the same sources you’ll be able to pre-order one as of September 24th.

Analysis: The BlackBerry Bold is a very real alternative to the iPhone especially for use in the Enterprise

New Kindle Won’t Be Home for Xmas

An Amazon spokesperson squashed speculation on an imminent next-gen Kindle.

Analysis: A new Kindle would make a great holiday gift but a Kindle gift certificate might be wiser this holiday season. The new Kindle now due in 2009 will supposedly correct some UI problems and offer an improved screen.

From Apple; Goggles not Googles

Imagine watching a movie, working on a large spreadsheet, or maneuvering around a virtual world without using a big screen display. Rumor has it that Apple and Sony are hard at work on a pair of goggles that will do just that. There is also a patent on file describing a laser-based display that you see right through like a pair of glasses when no image is being displayed.

Analysis: We predict that immersive head gear displays like this will eventually become commonplace.

Confirmed Rumor on Asus Eee PC 904

Apparently Asus listened to users’ complaints about the small keyboard on the Eee PC 901 and responded with the Eee PC 904 which puts a larger keyboard on an 8.9 inch display laptop. It’s available in the UK for about $460 U.S.

Analysis: Some user comments have criticized Asus for deviating from the 7 inch form factor and also note that you can get a pretty powerful laptop for about the same cost, but we can’t wait to get our hands on one of these little beauties.

iPhone Gamepad

Rumors are still getting play about Belkin’s involvement in an Apple “sanctioned” game pad as first reported by (along with this photo). Reports have been circulating that this 8 button gamepad with audio output would be supported by the Apple SDK. So far it appears to be speculation.

Analysis: As long as it supplies some extra juice to extend battery life, we say an iPhone gamepad is a great idea.

New and Cool Gadgets of the Week

September 9, 2008

The coolest gadgets this week are some new cameras, console games, and an update on the much anticipated laser-based rear projection TV from Mitsubishi. There’s lot’s more coming up on gadgets; check out what’s new for this week.

Ultra Mobile Laptop from Fujitsu

Fujitsu announced a UMPC (Ultra Mobile PC) called the Lifebook U2010. It runs on an Intel Atom Z530 (1.6 GHz) processor, has a 5.6 inch 1024 x 768 screen, and claims an 8 hour battery life. It comes in many colors and includes a built-in webcam. The reported price of $1300 is quite a bit more expensive than the comparable $500 Asus Eee PC 901.

Two Cool New Nikons

The Nikon Coolpix S560 is expected to go on sale at the end of August and will sell for around $250. It’s a 10 MP compact camera with 5X optical zoom, ISO up to 3200, advanced face detection features and optical image stabilization. It will record 640 x 480 video at 30 fps.

The Nikon Coolpix P6000 is even cooler than the S560 (and twice as expensive at $500). It’s a 13.5 MP compact camera with 4X optical zoom and optical image stabilization. One feature you’re paying extra for is a built-in GPS that “geo-tags” your pictures. This camera could be the closest thing to an SLR that fits in your pocket.

Another Game for NVIDIA’s PhysX Engine

NVIDIA announced that CAPCOM’s upcoming Bionic Commando video game will use GPU-accelerated NVIDIA PhysX technology to enhance the game’s debris, smoke, dust, and weapon effects. Bionic Commando, which will be released by GRIN in early 2009 should offer super realistic images generated by the CUDA general-purpose parallel computing processor.

Batman Game Coming in 2009

A new videogame from Eidos Interactive called Batman: Arkham Asylum will be made available for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and Games for Windows in 2009. The game is being developed by Rocksteady Studios and puts players in the role of Batman as he delivers the Joker to Arkham Asylum.

New Thinkpad for Digital Artists

The Lenovo ThinkPad W700 has a big bright 17-inch screen but only weighs just 8.4 pounds. The Quad-core Extreme chip should provide lots of horsepower. The W700 is the first laptop with an integrated color-calibration system using a set of built-in color sensors along with an onboard Wacom graphics tablet. This laptop won’t be cheap, costing $3,000 before adding the extras and may go for as much as $7500 fully loaded. It’s due to go on sale in September.

News on the Much Anticipated Laser RPTV

The hype is for a projection TV with an extensive range of colors and the best depth of field of any display technology. Add to that a claimed 75% reduction in power over an LCD TV along with a 50,000-hour life span. Sound impressive? A handful of reporters were given a sneak peak at this TV at the 2008 CES and they were impressed by what they saw. Mitsubishi says they will offer a 65” Laser DLP set called LaserVue in September. The price could be less than $2,000.

Best Bluetooth Headsets In the Market

September 5, 2008

In case you’re one of lucky ones to have gotten away without getting pulled over for not using a hands free device while calling and driving in California, New Jersey, New York and other states, now may be a good time to invest in a Bluetooth headset for your cell phone.

We’ve done some hands-on testing of the most popular new Bluetooth headsets and came to the conclusion that although none of these devices works flawlessly they work well enough to consider spending the $80 – $100 to make them part of your gadget collection.

Top Three Headsets

We singled out the BlueAnt Z9i, Aliph’s Jawbone 2, and Plantronics’ Discovery 925 because we consider them among the very best Bluetooth headsets on the market.

All three units had similar weaknesses; occasional pairing issues, audio glitches, and ergonomic difficulties. In other words, we feel Bluetooth headsets still have room for improvement. In general though, the out of the box experience was good, pairing worked most of the time although in some case we had to reset the headset to get everything set up just right for pairing to take place.

For the most part, call quality was quite adequate although some callers complained occasionally about the audio quality. One common complaint among our testers was that the auto pairing seemed to work sometimes and not others. One time your phone would answer with the headset connected and another with it off. Battery life was adequate for normal use and all three recharged pretty fast.

BlueAnt Z9i

The Z9i was the lightest of the three, almost feather light. It was the one we noticed least hanging off our ears although you have to be careful to fit the earloop just right.  The large multifunction button was easy to locate and easy to use although a problem with almost all phones we’ve tried is remembering which buttons do what. Quality of calls was very good although don’t expect Jawbone caliber noise cancellation.

Aliph Jawbone 2

The Aliph Jawbone 2 is the second generation Jawbone. The first Jawbone was the hands down favorite among Bluetooth headset connoisseurs however the first thing most owners did was replace the earpiece with a Jabra molded ear piece. The Jawbone 2 is smaller, lighter, and feels better in your ear although you still know it’s there unlike the BlueAnt Z9i which is so light you almost forget you’re wearing it. The Jawbone 2 was still the winner for noise canceling audio quality but not by much.

Plantronics Discovery 925

If you want to minimize the somewhat techie look that the Jawbone 2 adds then consider the stylish Plantronics Discovery 925. It almost looks like a piece of jewelry and therefore might be even more popular with women. It comes in colors too. The Discovery 925 feels very comfortable in your ear and doesn’t require an earloop like the BlueAnt or Jawbone. Sound quality is excellent and the buttons are easy to use.

Corded headset

For the most consistent connectivity and call quality you can’t beat a corded headset. Yes, the wire can get in your way but the mute button is easy to find.

Bluetooth Car and Conference Phone

BlueAnt makes a reasonably price Bluetooth device called the Supertooth 3 handsfree speakerphone that mounts to your visor when used as a hands free car phone or it can sit on a table and be used as a conference phone. It has big easy to find buttons, and friendly voice commands for ease of use.

Canon EOS 5D, the Digital SLR Camera

September 1, 2008

The Canon EOS 5D is a high-end digital camera from Canon, aptly suited for advanced photographers. The light weight, robust SLR is equipped with the Canon’s outstanding EF lenses without a conversion factor. It is a 12.8 megapixel camera with CMOS sensor, Canon’s DIGIC II image processor, high precision 9-point AF system with 6 assist points and ‘Picture Style’ color control. The superior quality images possess enough resolution to suit any application.

Equipped with wide angle capabilities, a 2.5 inch LCD display and a magnesium alloy body, it is a great addition to the Digital EOS line.

The minimum and maximum shutter speeds are 30 sec and 1/8000 sec respectively. Image formats available are JPEG, RAW and RAW + JPEG. Other features include a fixed eye-level pentaprism view finder with a 96% view finder field of view and a self-timer with a 10 sec timer delay. The camera has a continuous shooting speed of 3fps.