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Showing posts from October 17, 2010

Photoshop CS5 Extended Reviews

Arthur C. Clarke postulated that "any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic," and every new release of Adobe's industry-standard bitmap image-editor, Photoshop, comes closer to proving that true. The newest, Photoshop CS5 ($699 to $999 list, $199–$899 list for upgrades), implements features that aid in selection, painting, and high dynamic range (HDR) photography, as well as a new capability that's as close to digital prestidigitation as we've yet seen. Photoshop CS5 may not be a must-have revision for every user, but it's an outstanding, easy-to-use, and—yes—magical release that shows Adobe isn't yet done changing the game.

Specifications
Type
Business, Personal, Enterprise, Professional
OS Compatibility
Windows Vista, Windows XP, Mac OS, Windows 7 Photoshop's Content-Aware Fill
The most eye-popping of the changes here is Content-Aware Fill. Sound familiar? It should—Photoshop CS4 ($700 - $1,000 street, ) added Content-Aware S…

Latest Trends Xbox 360 (250GB)

Microsoft was the first to enter this current console-gaming generation with its original Xbox 360, a hulk of a system that beat both Nintendo and Sony to the punch. Despite the millions of Xboxes sold (or possibly because of it), the 360 line—encompassing the Xbox 360 Core, Xbox 360 Elite, Xbox 360 Pro, and Xbox 360 Arcade has been plagued by the infamous red ring of death, a fatal design flaw that caused some overheated Xbox 360 units to shut down and become inoperable. It also lacked built-in Wi-Fi (a feature that Sony's competing PlayStation 3 has included since it's launch), and the hard drive, which protruded slightly from the system, gave it an even bulkier appearance. Microsoft aims to remedy all of these ills with its latest $299.99 (list) Xbox 360 (250GB). Dubbed the "Xbox 360 slim" by both journalists and consumers, the redesigned Xbox 360 has the same horsepower, game library, and rich online experience as previous Xbox 360 models, but contains several ke…

Trends Samsung Acclaim SCH-R880

The Samsung Acclaim ($79.99 direct) is a fine handset with one main problem: it isn't as powerful as the HTC Desire, our current Editors' Choice for US Cellular phones. Instead, it's in that lower tier of Android smartphones which cost less up front, but are slower and not quite as easy to use. If you want a hardware keyboard and a touch screen in one handset, the Acclaim will get the job done, but it doesn't stand out otherwise.

Specifications
Service Provider
US Cellular
Screen Size
3.2 inches
Screen Details
320-by-480, 65K-color TFT LCD capactive touch screen
Camera
Yes
Network
CDMA
Bands
850, 1900
High-Speed Data
1xRTT, EVDO Rev 0
Processor Speed
800 MHz Design, Call Quality, and Apps
The Acclaim measures 4.5 by 2.3 by 0.6 inches and weighs 4.6 ounces. It's actually a few tenths of an ounce lighter than the HTC Desire, despite the fact that the Acclaim includes a slide-out QWERTY keyboard and the Desire doesn't. The plastic body is a combination of glossy and matte…

Trends Camera Nikon D3100

The 14.2-megapixel Nikon D3100 is a great entry-level digital SLR, and at $699.95 (list, with 18-55mm lens) it's the least-expensive D-SLR to capture 1080p video. It also includes a feature no other D-SLR has, continuous autofocus during video recording, which makes the D3100 feel like a camcorder while it's shooting. The camera can detect faces, lock on, and adjust the focus automatically to make video capture even easier. The only problem is that the lens isn't silent, so every time it refocuses you'll hear it. The Sony Alpha55 SLT-A55VL has faster autofocus, and the Sony NEX-3 and the Panasonic Lumix GH1 can focus silently, but if you want continuous autofocus in a true D-SLR, plus a true optical viewfinder, the Nikon D3100 is your only choice-but it's a good one.

Specifications
Type
D-SLR
Megapixels
14.2 MP
Media Format
Secure Digital High Capacity, Secure Digital Extended Capacity
35-mm Equivalent (Wide)
18
35-mm Equivalent (Telephoto)
55
Optical Zoom
3 x
LCD size
3 i…

Epson V600 for Photo Perfection

You'd expect a photo scanner at this price to scan up to four 35mm slides or two strips of 35mm film at a time, as the V600 does. You probably wouldn't expect it to also offer a 6,400 pixel-per-inch (ppi) optical resolution as well as scan medium-format film, including 120/220 and the entire range of panoramic formats up to 6 by 22 centimeters. But the V600 does that too. The unexpected extras help make it a great choice if you have medium-format film to scan and are on a tight budget.

Specifications
Maximum Optical Resolution
6400 pixels
Mechanical Resolution
9600 pixels
Maximum Scan Area
Letter
Scanning Options
Reflective, Transparency
Flatbed
Yes The V600 fits in Epson's line between the less expensive Editors' Choice Epson Perfection V500 Photo, scanner and the more expensive Epson Perfection V700 Photo. Despite the evenly spaced model numbers, it's much closer in price and capability to the V500, but it offers some important extras. In particular, it includes Digita…

Dell 3330dn Printer Product

The Dell 3330dn Laser Printer ($599.99 direct) is the kind of workhorse mono laser that's easy to like. It offers fast speed, a low running cost, and reasonably good paper handling. Its text quality is a touch subpar for a mono laser, but perfectly acceptable for the vast majority of small offices and workgroups. Most important, it delivers a more than reasonable balance of features for the price.

Specifications
Printer Category
Laser
Type
Printer Only
Color or Monochrome
Monochrome
Technology (for laser category only)
Laser
Connection Type
USB, Parallel, Ethernet
Maximum Standard Paper Size
Legal
Direct Printing from Cameras
No
Rated speed at Default Resolution (Mono)
40 ppm
Duplexing
Yes Like the Editor's Choice Lexmark E462dtn ($749 direct, 4 stars) that I reviewed a few months ago, the 3330dn is aimed primarily at micro and small offices. The default paper handling features include an automatic duplexer for printing on both sides of a page and a 300-sheet paper capacity divided into…

HP Pavilion Elite HPE-410y Reviews

With a generous feature set and a sub-$1,000 price tag, the HP Pavilion Elite HPE-410y ($929.99 street) desktop, available at Best Buy, should meet the needs of a wide range of users. The 1TB hard drive can store tons of media, the Blu-ray drive can dish out gorgeous-looking high-def movies, and the Wi-Fi radio will let you work wirelessly. Application performance is decent as well; but you can find better performing desktops in the same price range.

Specifications
Type
Gaming, Mainstream, Multimedia
Processor Family
AMD Athlon II
RAM
8 GB
Storage Capacity (as Tested)
1000 GB
Graphics Card
ATI Radeon HD 5570
Primary Optical Drive
Blu-Ray Disc
Operating System
Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium Design
Nearly all HP Pavilion desktops apply a subtle variation on a theme of a black metal chassis with a glossy black plastic front bezel. The HPE-410y's mid-tower case follows suit, and, in fact, uses the identical design as the HP Pavilion Elite HPE-447c-b ($1,349.99 list, 3 stars) and HP Pavilion…

Dell Inspiron iM501R-1655MRB Reviews

A 2.2GHz processor and 500GB hard drive, for a rock bottom price? Seems like good bait material, coming from a laptop like the Dell Inspiron iM501R-1655MRB ($649.99 list, at Best Buy). By itself, it's a competent, budget laptop that can handle several tasks at once without crashing to a halt. Compared with other similarly priced laptops, though, the M501R is no Easter egg. You'll find nicer parts and better prices with the Acer Aspire AS5745-7247 ($600 list, 4.5 stars) or Sony VAIO VPC-EB33FM/BJ ($629.99 list, 4.5 stars).

Design
Plastic is used more frequently than any other material in laptop designs, almost all the time if it's inexpensive. How the plastic is decorated separates the attractive from the, well, not so attractive ones. Upon closer inspection, the iM501R-1655MRB's shiny plastic chassis is painted to look like brushed aluminum—a great-looking design, but susceptible to some smudging. The design looks like it took more brainstorming than drawing a few line…

Sony PlayStation Motion Control

Motion-control-based gaming entered the mainstream with the introduction of the Nintendo Wii back in 2006. A game console that turned the gaming industry on its ear with its innovative controllers that let gamers interact with games using wrist flips, arm motions—and with the addition of the Wii Balance Board—their whole bodies, the Wii is a smashing success with a huge fan base. Microsoft and Sony, naturally, want to snag some of those fans, and Sony gets there first with its PlayStation Move, an add-on for the Playstation 3 that goes on sale on September 19th, and brings motion controls to Sony gamers. Microsoft's competing Xbox Kinect won't be available until early November.

What Exactly is the Motion Control and What Do You Need to Play?
The PlayStation Move consists of two parts: Sony's PlayStation Eye camera, and a wireless, Bluetooth-enabled wand that looks a little like the Nintendo Wiimote, except it has an illuminated orb attached to its top. Your investment will …

Plustek Photo Scanner

Plustek is introducing the SmartPhoto P60, a compact and portable scanner which can convert old photographs into digital files with the touch of a button. It is the first photo scanner that the company is releasing to the U.S. market.

The SmartPhoto 60 can scan at 100, 300, or 600 dpi. According to Plustek, it can scan a 4- by 6-inch photo at 100 dpi and import it into a computer in as little as 18 seconds. No additional software is needed to convert or upload photos.

Once scanned, digital photos may be shared on-line, thru email, and on digital photo frames just like a photo created by a digital camera. The SmartPhoto P60 includes a protector sheet to keep old, fragile or irreplaceable photographs from harm while they're being scanned. The SmartPhoto P60 is powered through a USB port so it may be used anywhere with a laptop or desktop computer (Windows or Mac) and does not require external power.

To Enjoy Google TV

The first round of Google TV products have officially been unveiled. For now, there are three products that make use of the Android-based Google TV software: the Logitech Revue, a set-top box; the Sony Internet TV, an HDTV with the built-in OS; and the Sony Internet TV Blu-ray Disc Player, a Blu-ray player with full Google TV support. Which device is the right one for you, if you want Google TV in your living room as soon as possible? That depends.

The Logitech Revue (slideshow below) was the first product launched, and is aimed at people who already have a TV in their living room but want the Google TV interface without the price tag of a whole new set.

The Revue is a $299.99 set-top box that can be connected to any HDTV, and brings all the features of Google TV to your living room. In addition, the Revue provides 720p-streaming video conferencing capability, the ability to stream media from your computer, and an app for Android and iOS that lets you control the Revue, and your TV, f…