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Showing posts from November, 2010

Epson Stylus NX625 Reviews

The Epson Stylus NX625 continues the tradition of Epson's NX line's tradition as a modestly priced multifunction printer geared mostly to home use. It has some big shoes to fill, as the model it's replacing—the Epson Stylus NX515—is an Editors' Choice. Although the NX625's text quality doesn't match the NX515's, the new model is even faster (and more well-rounded) than its notoriously speedy predecessor, making it the new Editors' Choice for a home MFP in its price range.

The NX625 measures 6.7 by 22.2 by 17 inches (HWD) and weighs 13.7 pounds. A 2.5-inch color LCD anchors its tilt-up front panel. It has a 150-sheet internal paper tray and an automatic duplexer for printing on both sides of a sheet of paper. Both should add to its home-office cred. (The NX515 only offered a 100-sheet paper tray, and lacked the auto-duplexer.) The new model does lose a port for printing from PictBridge-enabled cameras or USB thumb drives, though it has slots that support …

HP Envy 14-1110NR Reviews

When I think of high-end mainstream laptops, brands like Apple's MacBook Pro, Dell's XPS, and Asus's U-Series are usually what come to mind. Another rising star in this category is the HP Envy 14-1110NR ($1,050 list), found at Staples. As its name suggests, it's the 14-inch version of HP's Envy line, lavished with features such as a glass-covered screen, a backlit keyboard, and some of the fastest components available. There are some lingering issues with the gesture touchpad, and the system is a little on the heavy side. Otherwise, the Envy 14-1110NR is a viable mainstream laptop for sophisticated users.


Design
Anodized aluminum is the recurring theme in HP laptops. The Envy 14 is covered in it, whereas laptops like the Asus U45Jc-A1 ($867 street, 4.5 stars) and HP Pavilion dm4-1160us ($849.98 list, 4 stars) only use it on the cover and palm rest area. The design concept is similar to the Apple MacBook Pro 13-inch (Core 2 Duo 2.4Ghz) ($1,199 direct, 4 stars), in th…

HP Compaq 6000 Reviews

There's no doubt that the Apple iMac (Core i3) ($1,199 list, 4 stars) and its brothers have affected all-in-one desktop design. The HP Compaq 6000 Pro All-in-One Business PC ($1,109 list) takes some of the iMac's most distinctive design features, and puts it on an enterprise-class PC. It has the power to produce everything from Web sites to Word docs to digital photos. If you're looking for an all-in-one desktop to spruce up or save space in your office, then take a long hard look at the HP Compaq 6000 Pro.

Design and Features
The HP is encased in a black plastic chassis rather than the sleek aluminum found on the Apple iMac. Its 21.5-inch widescreen display has a 16:9 aspect ratio. The screen has tilt movement on a single-piece arm, just like on the iMac. The open design of the arm allows you to place the wireless keyboard under the screen for easy storage. This feature, in my opinion, should be mandatory in other all-in-one desktops, especially when users are space-constr…

US Pay by Phone System

You know that thing where you just tap your credit card to pay for stuff at the store? That functionality will be coming to smartphones in the U.S., this time apparently for real, via a national phone payment network called Isis, spearheaded by AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon.


Besides negating the need to pull out your credit card, the "mobile wallet" in your phone is planned to incorporate reward cards, coupons, tickets, and transit passes. Isis will use near-field communication (NFC) technology to make payments. NFC encrypts data for very short-range transmission – a matter of inches. When you need to pay, just launch the Isis app, wave your phone over the machine and you've paid up.

The idea of using your phone to make payments isn't new -- Japan's FeliCa has been around for years – but it's been slow to take hold in America. There have been many pilot programs for cell phone payments over the last decade, but none have gained traction. This time, though, …

TrustPort Latest Antivirus 2011

A two-headed calf might cause a sensation at the State Fair, but two-headed antivirus tools are more and more common. The concept makes sense. By integrating two antivirus engines into a single product you get better detection without the potential conflicts from using two separate antivirus tools. TrustPort Antivirus 2011 ($34.10 direct) integrates two well-known antivirus engines, but doesn't demonstrate any real benefit from the pairing.

Double Anti-Spy Professional v2 ($29 direct, 4 stars) another twin-engine antivirus, labels its two engines "A" and "B" (though it's no secret that A comes from Sunbelt and B is a combination of Agnitum and VirusBuster). TrustPort clearly identifies its engines by name. One is the engine behind AVG Anti-Virus Free 2011 (Free, 3.5 stars), and the other powers BitDefender Antivirus Pro 2011 ($39.95 direct for three licenses, 3.5 stars).

Specifications
Type
Personal
OS Compatibility
Windows Vista, Windows XP, Windows 7 Many mode…

Sony PS3 120GB Reviews

To the casual observer, there's nothing particularly slim about the new Sony PlayStation 3's ($299.99 direct) sleek black housing—it's only when you compare it with its nearly three-year-old counterpart, the previous-gen PS3, that you see how much smaller it is. The bigger news here, however, is the $100 price drop; the original PS3 retailed for $600 when it launched in 2006, and up until last week, the least-expensive PS3 you could buy was $400—and that was for a console with an 80GB hard drive. A more-reasonable $300 now buys you an incredible gaming device that's more compact, sports a roomier 120GB hard drive, and is one of the best Blu-ray players you can find.

In general, the new PlayStation 3 offers a near-identical experience to the previous-generation console, which, incidentally, is still available, but for $100 less. It's also $299.99, but with the larger case and a smaller hard drive (80GB), it's hard to see why anyone would opt for it over the PS3 s…

HTC HD7 Product Reviews

The first Windows Phone for T-Mobile, the HTC HD7 ($199 with contract) is a big, beautiful device well-suited for media and gaming. Like AT&T's Samsung Focus ($199, 4 stars), it steps out of the way to let Windows Phone 7's beautiful graphic design take center stage. But the HD7 still needs a few improvements, and we still recommend T-Mobile's more mature Android devices over this first-generation Windows phone.

Physical Features and Call Quality
The HD7's defining feature is its huge, 800-by-480, 4.3-inch LCD screen. It's big, all right, but it's no higher-resolution than any other Windows Phone 7 screen (even those that are physically smaller), and it's dimmer than the Samsung Focus's AMOLED screen. The phone itself is big at 4.8 by 2.7 by 0.4 inches (HWD), but not quite as big as Verizon's huge Motorola Droid X ($199, 4.5 stars). At 5.7 ounces, it's plenty hefty as well.

Specifications
Service Provider
T-Mobile
Operating System
Windows Phone …

EasyShare M580 From Kodak

If you're looking for a camera with big zoom, without breaking the bank, the 14.1-megapixel Kodak EasyShare M580 is a fantastic choice. This pocket shooter delivers 8x optical zoom, along with excellent image and HD-video quality, all at a $199.95 (direct) price that's hard to beat. The M580 doesn't have the slim build you'll get on some other cameras in this price range (like the Canon PowerShot SD780 IS ($229.99, ) or the Sony Cyber-shot W350 ($199.99, ), but what the M580 lacks in portability, it makes up for with excellent image quality, a large LCD, and big zoom.

Specifications
Type
Compact
Megapixels
14 MP
Media Format
Secure Digital High Capacity
35-mm Equivalent (Wide)
28
35-mm Equivalent (Telephoto)
224
Optical Zoom
8 x
LCD size
3 inches
Wireless Connectivity
No
HD Video Capture
Yes Design and Features
Undoubtedly the best feature of the M580 is the 8x optical zoom lens it packs into a 1-inch thick body. The nondescript camera comes in a metallic hues including bluish gr…

Scanner Visioneer Strobe 500

There's nothing new about a portable device that you can plug into a dock to use as a desktop unit too. Lots of laptops have let you do that for years. Somehow, though, the idea of a scanner doing the same thing seems like an exciting new trick, and it's the one feature in the Visioneer Strobe 500 ($399.99 direct) that's most likely to grab your attention. It firmly plants the scanner in two separate categories—portable and personal desktop document scanner. Ultimately, though, it's best appreciated as a capable desktop scanner first and a portable only as a decidedly secondary role.

Specifications
Maximum Optical Resolution
600 pixels
Mechanical Resolution
600 pixels
Maximum Scan Area
Legal
Scanning Options
Reflective
Flatbed
No The scanner comes mounted in its docking station, which includes a 20-page automatic document feeder (ADF) and an output tray. The combination of the two is about the same size as a typical personal desktop scanner, with an 11.7- by 4.7-inch (WD) foo…

Officejet 7500A From HP

Many small businesses could use the ability to print documents on larger than legal-size paper, but few affordable options have existed, particularly in multifunction printers (MFPs). The HP Officejet 7500A Wide Format e-All-in-One joins the Editors' Choice Brother MFC-6490CW in this small niche. Moreover, the 7500A's combination of supertabloid printing (up to 13 by 19 inches), fast print speeds, and a wealth of all-in-one and ePrint features edge it past the Brother (which is restricted to tabloid (11 by 17) format) as the new Editors' Choice for a wide-format inkjet MFP.

Specifications
Printer Category
Ink Jet
Type
All-In-One
Color or Monochrome
4-pass color
Ink Jet Type
Standard All-Purpose
Connection Type
USB, Ethernet, Wireless
Maximum Standard Paper Size
Wide Format
Direct Printing from Cameras
No
Standalone Copier and Fax
Copier, Fax
Duplexing
No The 7500 builds on the HP Officejet 7000 Wide Format Printer ($229 direct, 4 stars), one of several wide-format single-function pri…

Trends Dell XPS 15

The Dell XPS 15 ($1,115 direct), a desktop replacement laptop, is a wonderland of lavish features and cutting-edge components. Even more impressive is that most of its parts are customizable before finalizing your purchase: The XPS 15 can be completely over the top or priced to meet a certain budget. It's one of the few 15-inch laptops that has support for a full 1080p screen resolution, a Skype-certified HD webcam, floor-thumping speakers, and every wireless technology imaginable. If the Intel Core i5 processor and Nvidia GeForce GT 420M (with Optimus technology) aren't groundbreaking enough for you, there are options for quad-core processors and a more powerful graphics card. The only thing left to do now is hand the XPS 15 the Editors' Choice in the desktop replacement laptop category.

Specifications
Type
Gaming, General Purpose, Media, Desktop Replacement
Operating System
Microsoft Windows 7 Ultimate
Processor Speed
2.53 GHz
Processor Name
Intel Core i5-460M
RAM
4 GB
Weight
6…

Dell Inspiron One2305 Reviews

The Dell Inspiron One 2305 (IO2305-3114MSL) ($849.99 list), available at Best Buy, is an all-in-one touchscreen desktop PC with a large 23-inch widescreen display. It has a 1080p HD display, wireless everything, decent design, and an attractive sub $900 price. However, it's a little sluggish on most functions, particularly the multimedia tasks like photo and video work that would look great on such a large screen. Maybe with a little more power and a more features, the Inspiron One could be a contender, but not this configuration.

Specifications
Type
Multimedia, All-in-one, Touchscreen All-In-One
Processor Family
AMD Athlon II X2
RAM
4 GB
Storage Capacity (as Tested)
750 GB
Graphics Card
ATI Radeon HD 4270
Primary Optical Drive
Dual-Layer DVD+/-RW
Operating System
Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium Design and Features
The Inspiron One 2305 looks like most other all-in-one PCs—basically it looks like a widescreen monitor. It takes after the HP TouchSmart 600 series and Gateway One ZX series, …

Microsoft's Kinect Hacked News

Has someone already won the $2,000 bounty for delivering open-source drivers that work with Microsoft's recently released Kinect motion-tracking system? Odds are looking good!

Here's the background. Adafruit Industries announced a $2,000 prize last week for anyone who managed to hack into the Kienct in an effort to unlock the device for use with hardware other than the Xbox 360. In short, here's the official challenge: "Upload your code, examples and documentation to GitHub. First person / group to get RGB out with distance values being used wins, you're smart – you know what would be useful for the community out there. All the code needs to be open source and/or public domain."

Well, user AlexP over at the NUI Group Community Forums has posted a video that appears to show a Kinect being controlled via a standard PC interface. That's the only background we have so far, so it remains to be seen whether the potential submission will actually fulfill all the…

Spiceworks 5.0 Software Reviews

Affordable, feature-rich, and easy to use small and mid-sized business network management applications are hard to find, but they do exist. Case in point: The free Spiceworks, which has enjoyed popularity in the SMB network management crowd thanks to its vendor independence and ease of use. Cisco's Network Magic does a lot of what Spiceworks does, but we found it worked a bit buggy with non-Cisco networking products. More than a tool, Spiceworks is a portal comprised of network management, help desk, purchasing features, and a community of over 1,000,000 helpful users—mostly IT professionals—deemed "Spiceheads." The software is as useful as ever, but it's hampered a bit by new features that could've used more time in the oven.

Specifications
Type
Business, Enterprise, Professional
Free
Yes
OS Compatibility
Windows Vista, Windows XP, Linux, Windows 7 Interface and Setup
Spiceworks' interface has been updated since we last took a look at it. The Device Inventory in …

Trends Sony PSP go

The Sony PSP has been a premier mobile gaming platform for the past five years, but it was always a bit large for a portable system. Sony's answer: The PSP go ($249.99 direct), a shrunken-down version of the PSP that eschews the UMD optical drive and game cartridges for 16GB of internal storage, download-only titles, and a new slider design. The screen is bright, the controls are responsive, the storage is sufficient, and Sony's online download store is reliable and robust. The problem is that the PSP go is really only for gamers who are new to the PSP platform, not the faithful who have stuck with Sony for a half-decade. If you fit into the latter group, you're better off sticking with your original, albeit chunkier, PSP-1000, or buying the slightly smaller PSP-3000 ($169.99 direct) if you want to get in on multiplayer games.

With the PSP go, Sony is poised to compete with other portable gaming platforms, including the Nintendo DS Lite and Apple's iPod touch—at least …