Monday, July 17, 2006

VAIO XL100 Digital Living System

VAIO XL100 Digital Living System
The VAIO XL100 Digital Living System is designed to be compatible with your existing electronics devices. The S/PDIF output lets you hook up your stereo or surround sound system. While the coaxial input increases TV tuner compatibility. Also included in this media centre is connectivity for standard, enhanced and high-definition video and multi-channel digital audio through a single cable.
The XL100 features a 2.8GHz Intel Pentium D 920 processor, 1GB PC4300 DDR2 RAM, an Intel motherboard, a 250GB Seagate Barracuda 7800RPM hard drive, a Matsushita UJ-846D DVD writer, 128MB in nVidia Geforce 6600 graphics card, AVerMedia AverTV Hybrid+FM PCI tuner card, 7.1 audio, modem, WiFi, wireless keyboard. Remote control and Windows XP Media Centre Edition. The device weighs in at 10.5 Kgs and is decently sized 430x400x129mm (WDH). The VAIO XL100 Digital Living System is priced at 850 pounds. For more information visit

Wednesday, May 24, 2006


LG has launched one of the personal media players announced earlier this year at CES. It has an 8GB drive, a 1.77-inch touch sensitive OLED screen, and weighs just 88g.


It can play videos in MP4 format as well. The player gives 30 hrs of music playback and 4 hrs of video playback. It also plays OGG, WMV; and displays JPEG files. It has an FM radio, built-in microphone, line-in port for audio recording, etc. It also has a feature called "Music Therapy" but no details of this feature are known.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Sony Ericsson SO902WP+ Waterproof Cellphone

Sony Ericsson Logo
Sony Ericsson is now also catering to those who seek a waterproof phone. The Sony Ericsson S0902WP+ is a waterproof cellphone. It is based on the S0902i except for the camera which has been replaced with a 1.3 MP. The phone will work fine for 30min in water at a depth of 1 meter.

Sony Ericsson SO902WP And Waterproof Cellphone

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Razer's Tarantula Gaming Keyboard

Razer's Tarantula Gaming Keyboard
From the popular gaming hardware developers, Razer, comes yet another gaming device, Tarantula gaming keyboard. Razer has been working on the Tarantula, a gaming keyboard, since its debut at CES back in January. The Tarantula is a fully programmable keyboard wherein you can assign certain functions to a key or just disable the key. There is also complete macro functionality; any kind of macros can be bound to the outside keys on the left and right. All this customization is possible using Razer's software.

Razer's Tarantula Gaming Keyboard

Razer has developed new technologies for the keyboard to facilitate gamers, namely Anti-Ghosting and Hyperesponse. Anit-Ghosting prevents the keys from jamming due to multiple inputs and Hyperesponse reduces the key-press latency down to supposedly 1ms-response time. There is no backlighting because of the features mentioned above. But the Tarantula is equipped with a mini lamp attached above the "F" keys. Also included are five programmable profile settings that change on the fly according to the game; a microphone, headphone, and USB ports. The Tarantula is expected to be in stores by August for $99.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Tech-Com DSC-524X PLUS

Tech-Com DSC-524X PLUS
There is a craze of buying a cell phone with features like quality camera and music playback now days. Ironically, people have more than ample options for a decent camera with better performance. Taking into consideration this craze, many brands have already released cameras providing the common man a better option. Instead of buying a high priced mobile phone with camera, why not buy a camera that just does its job. Tech-Com has realized the sensitive issue and has launched the camera we have for review.

Tech-Com DSC-524X PLUS


Tech-Com DSC-524X PLUS is a 5.19 MP sub 10K digicam with an optical zoom of 3X and digital zoom of 5X. The dimensions 99.94 x 55.4 x 35.29 mm give it the sleek looks. It weighs around 140 grams without batteries and a memory card. The large 2.4" LCD is clear and sharp. The camera does not flaunt too many buttons at a first glance; hence, it is simple to operate. The build quality of this camera is quite good even when compared to other cameras from better brands. The camera finish is nice, providing a good-to-touch feel. There is some chrome thrown on it that makes it look like a cool personal camera.


The quality of pictures is almost at par with other sub 10K digicams in the market, the results of which you can see for yourself later in the review. The camera does consume power from the batteries quite fast. It drained a pair of standard Duracell alkaline batteries after clicking just around 60 photos; at least the message "Low Battery" warning kept showing every time I tried turning it on. This is average battery life; if provided with an optical view finder, this camera could be used for a longer period.

The box specifies 32 MB of inbuilt memory of which you can actually use around 25 MB; which isn't bad. But if you are to click photos with the entire zoom available and at the highest resolution, then this memory will not be sufficient. You will only be able to click around 20 photos max. There is even a slot to load more memory via SD/MMC Card. But there is a drawback here; you have to switch off the digicam to insert/remove the memory card. While you do that make sure that the batteries don't pop out. This is because the memory slot is in the battery closet.

The noticeable factor when you're clicking photos is the speed of the camera. The interval time between clicking photos is very low; just after you have captured a moment the camera is ready for capturing the next. With a normal shutter speed of 2 to 1/1000 seconds and night sense speed of 8 to 1/1000 seconds, the shutter works both mechanically and electrically, delivering good pictures. There is this feature to shoot continuous photos wherein you can click 8 shots in a span of a minute. The camera facilitates B/W, Normal, Sepia, and RGB custom color effects. The camera also features a digital output connector; the USB 2.0, and other interfaces like MIC-in and video-out.

Tech-Com DSC-524X PLUS Rose Snap

Above you can see the color reproduction is quite good.

Tech-Com DSC-524X PLUS Building Snap

Here the image shows that the white balance of the camera is indeed decent. The view was captured from a shady point (pun not intended).

The Verdict

Tech-Com DSC-524X PLUS in Sun

The view has been captured very well, the camera not showing any negativity.

ech-Com DSC-524X PLUS Against Sun

The picture here displays the performance of the camera against the sun.


Given the camera's price nearly 180$ with 1 year warranty, it's a value for money package. The performance is at par with other Digital cameras available in the same price range. But if you still have a couple of thousand more to spare then renowned brands like Nikon and Canon are also in your reach which offer better picture quality and modes. This camera is a good buy if you're looking for an inexpensive, uncomplicated 5MP camera with decent performance and fair amount of features.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Samsung Slim T509

Samsung Slim T509
As if Motorola RAZR was not enough, Samsung is launching the new T509 candy bar shaped Mobile Phone which is the slimmest to hit shelves in the US. Samsung T509 is only 9.8 mm thick as compared to 11.5 mm Motorola RAZR and also has an external memory slot. This phone is not just a slim phone but also features a crisp color screen and a camera too. The phone will be available in the second half of 2006.

Samsung Slim T509

It seems that slim just got slimmer. Don't expect this chic piece to be available soon in Asia. Also there is no word on pricing yet.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Logitech G5 Gaming Mouse

Logitech G5 Gaming Mouse
This is one review lot of gamers have been requesting for. We give you the Logitech G5 Gaming Mouse. This new mouse incorporates the second generation laser sensor; the same as Logitech G7 Wireless Mouse. But, this one is not wireless and targeted more towards the gaming crowd with a slightly lower budget. The G5 looks like a war torn mouse that has been manufactured to attract FPS (First Person Shooter) gamers.

The mouse has done away with smooth grip finish. The plastic grip on this one is rough and certainly not pleasing to touch. But, some may find the grip better than the previous ones. The front plastic-feel dates back to MX 500 which doesn't have the smooth glossy finish. But, that's not the only thing that has changed. Enter a new concept for the gaming mouse, the adjustable weights. More on that later in the review.

The Laser Sensor
The sensor used in the G5 is ADNS-6010 LaserStream, a second generation laser sensor developed by Avago Technology. This laser sensor works at 6.4 Megapixels/second and is able to process around 7080 frames per second which is currently the highest compared to all the mice. Its high performance architecture is capable of sensing high-speed mouse motion with resolution up to 2000 cpi (even referred as dpi by some users, which is actually a wrong unit), velocities up to 45 inches per second (ips) and acceleration up to 20g. This laser sensor is suited for users who favor extreme high sensitivity. Besides that, it has the ability to downshift to 400 cpi, which makes sure, that any person using anything from low sensitivity to high sensitivity is comfortable with the mouse.

Logitech G5 Gaming Mouse

USB Connectivity
It is not just the sensor that got upgraded; the drivers of the mouse make the USB interface work at 500 reports per second than the traditional value of 125. Besides that, the USB data format also got updated to 16 bit/axis from 8 bit/axis. This means, the data that used to take 8 ms to transfer from Logitech MX518 Gaming Mouse to the PC and vice versa now happens in 2 ms with the Logitech G5. Speaking of technological stride, it is almost 4 times faster than the previous king of the roost.

Unofficially, there's also a freely available application which allows you to enable 500 reports per second on USB port with any USB mouse. But, it can also damage your mouse. So, make sure of what you are doing before you try any stunts.

Scientific Gamer
The most unique feature of the G5 mouse is the adjustable weight. The weight of the mouse can be adjusted with the help of small weight tablets provided. There are 2 sets of 8 tablets weighing at 1.7 grams and 4.5 grams. At a time, you can put a maximum of eight tablets inside the weight tray. Hmm this sounds more complicated than what we used to do with the weights in the Physics and Chemistry labs.
The weight tray can be slid into the mouse at the bottom and can be removed by a click of a mechanical button which is again situated at the bottom. This concept is still to be evaluated as in how much of a practical usage it can offer. As of now it simply projects 'pro-ness'.

Logitech G5 Gaming Mouse Weights

Logitech G5 Gaming Mouse Weights

Mouse Design and Ergonomics
The Mouse design and ergonomics are totally similar to that of G7 which has got rave reviews. Logitech seems to have perfected the art of mouse design for quite some time and there is no question or doubt ever raised on their designs, especially the MX 5xx series.

The mouse shape still continues to resemble the Logitech MX 5xx series. It fits perfectly into one's right hand. But, once again Logitech has totally ignored the left handers. It features a total of 6 programmable buttons; same as that of G7. Besides that, it also features tilt wheel technology which can be quite handy for horizontal scrolling.

A new feature which has been added to this device is a small LED indicator on the left side of the mouse. This is an indicator for the cpi setting, the mouse is currently set to.

The feet of the G5 mouse is made up of Polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) which provides the ultra-smooth glide on most surfaces (once again reminds me of the Chemistry lab).

The Software
The SetPoint software gives access to all the features and adjustments. It also allows you to configure the programmable keys, adjust sensitivity and cpi, and also make different profiles for different games. The software has a nice appeal but it works only on Windows XP.

Logitech Setpoint

Logitech Setpoint

Final Verdict
Being a user of Logitech MX 5xx series for quite some time, getting used to this mouse took absolutely no time. The tracking and precision it offered was quite distinguishable from the other mice. But, I never used the weights even once, as I was quite comfortable with the initial weight of the mouse. I did try out the weights once for testing purpose, but then I never preferred them. All in all, it's all personal preference.

The Logitech G5 Gaming Mouse sells for 105$, but you can find it for around 95$ with a 3-year warranty. The price sure is heavy on your wallet (with or without the weights). But then "Pro-ness" doesn't come cheap; or so people think.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Plustek OptiCard 820

Plustek OptiCard 820 Thumb

Do you see yourself as someone who travels a lot, attends a lot of meetings and parties and is showered with thousands of business cards every month? If the answer is yes, then most probably, your assistant is spending the better part of the day just arranging those cards in your folio. No wonder big-shot executives have more than one assistant on their payroll.

Taiwan based manufacturer, may have just changed the picture a bit. They have launched the OptiCard 820, a portable scanner which can scan business cards and color photographs as well. With most business cards as well as photographs being roughly similar in size, it makes sense to combine these two ideas into one and make a scanner that can handle both.


The OptiCard 820 is a pass-through portable scanner and comes with a USB interface. It incorporates the Advanced Color CIS (Contact Image Sensor) technology to scan photos or business cards in just a couple of seconds. Being a singe pass sheet-fed scanner, it is built around a very small frame and weighs only 194 grams that can easily fit into your laptop bag.

Plustek OptiCard 820

The can scan pictures to a maximum of 600 dpi (hardware) to give decent quality pictures and around 1200 dpi using software interpolation. The color depth is a maximum of 48 bits per pixel. Since the role of the scanner is limited, the maximum scan area available is 105mm x 148mm (4.1" x 5.8") i.e. as big as a regular post card sized photograph. Plustek claims a scan speed of around 7 seconds @ 300 dpi in gray mode and 8 seconds in the color mode.

But the most important factor to determine the quality and performance of such scanners is the bundled software. The OptiCard 820 comes with I.R.I.S. Cardiris 3.5, NewSoft Presto! ImageFolio 4, NewSoft Presto! Mr. Photo 3.

Before you begin to scan anything, you have to install the software bundle provided along with the scanner, which was pretty irritating as I had to restart the computer twice. Once you are done with that, you can start scanning pictures or cards using the one-touch buttons on the scanner.

Plustek's IRIS Cardiris software is used for importing and filing business cards. The Smart Touch application keeps track of which one of the scanner's image-editing or card-scanning function buttons is pressed and launches the relevant program. The Cardiris application saves images of scanned business cards and uses Optical Character Recognition (OCR) to import the text on the cards into editable fields. This information can be synchronized with various applications, including Outlook and Lotus Notes, or exported to file formats that include JPEG images, HTML web pages, or comma-separated text. Cardiris proved very accurate with a range of new and dog-eared business cards, but didn't always manage to get information into the right field. We were surprised that India was not in the list of countries whose business card types are preset in the software. Also, since we do not follow any specific standard for business cards it becomes very difficult to scan and store all types of cards that you get. So, eventually you have to go through all the captured information and in case you find any mistakes, you have to correct them manually.

Image Scanning
This scanner comes with a TWAIN driver allowing you to scan most common imaging applications directly. Its interface is basic, but it offers some filters and gives easy control of settings such as resolution and color depth. Scanning a 6" x 4" photograph took less than 10 seconds at 100/300 dpi but took a little longer when we increased resolution to 600 dpi.
The OptiCard's feed mechanism dragged most documents and even managed to keep a grip on highly glossy lab photos. Sometimes, the picture did get a little askew due to the absence of an auto-feed mechanism but it recorded images with fairly accurate colors. It was also able to capture the right shades in dark areas of our test photos.

Scanned with OptiCard 820

Scanned with OptiCard 820

Scanned with HP Flatbed @ 600 dpi

Scanned with HP Flatbed @ 600 dpi

We tested the scanner with a wide variety of images; and the quality always turned out to be above average and acceptable. The OCR function worked quite well; and the software keeps the image of the business card as well as the text. After using the scanner for some time, we found it better for scanning photos than the contact cards.

Scanned with OptiCard 820

Scanned with OptiCard 820

Scanned with HP Flatbed @ 600 dpi

Scanned with HP Flatbed @ 600 dpi

Even though there is a very limited market potential, the OptiCard 820 is an average business card scanner and the photo scanning facility is a good add-on. You would surely love to get your hands on it but, for a price of around 100$ with one year warranty, you would rather let it go unless you are looking for a photo scanner with a small foot print and one that is easy to carry around.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Kodak EasyShare C330

Kodak EasyShare C330
Introductions and specifications

In their unrelenting efforts of taking photography to the masses, Eastman Kodak Company has made it simple and quick to shoot, print and share pictures with the launch of the C330 Digital Camera. The EasyShare option provides a complete personal photography system with or without a computer.

The latest addition in their entry level segment, the Kodak EasyShare is compact and looks pretty sturdy. Features include 4 MP resolution i.e. 2304 1728 pixels image resolution, 3x optical zoom, 5x digital zoom, auto focus, video capture and lot more. It weighs around 160 grams (without batteries), has 16 MB of internal memory and an expansion slot for an external SD/MMC card. The controls and buttons are easy to use, even for first time users.

Kodak EasyShare C330


CCD resolution
4.0 megapixels (2336 1744 pixels) Image resolution
4.0 megapixels (2304 1728 pixels) Picture quality
4.0 MP-best (prints up to 20 30 in. (50 75 cm))
3.5 MP-best 3:2 (optimized ratio for 4 6 in. (10 15 cm) prints)
3.1 MP-better (prints up to 11 14 in. (28 36 cm))
2.1 MP-good (small prints)
1.1 MP-e-mail

3X optical zoom
advanced digital zoom-5X continuous

Shutter speed
4-1/1400 seconds, long exposure max 4 seconds
Optical LCD
1.5 in. (3.8 cm) indoor/outdoor color display

The onscreen menus are clear and easy to navigate. But, a bigger LCD would have most definitely been better. Also, this camera does not have many manual settings thus making it ideal for the point-and-shoot enthusiasts.
The outer controls are well labeled making them easy to read. Four buttons along the side of the LCD allow quick access for deleting photos, toggling the display, accessing the menus and photos. The top-mounted dial allows the use of 6 different modes to shoot pictures. The Kodak EasyShare C330 provides no manual adjustments beyond ISO settings, focus zone, and exposure compensation. It has an array of presets such as Portrait, Landscape, Sports, Fireworks and Snow. Some of these are available as dedicated modes on the mode dial, while others are clubbed together under the scene-mode option on the mode dial.

Kodak EasyShare C330 Back

Other useful features include a burst mode that can snap 3 high-resolution shots at 1.5 fps. But, the camera takes another 5 to 7 seconds to reset after this. Images can be categorized into favorites or selected for printing or e-mailing using the EasyShare button at the back of the camera.

Kodak EasyShare C330 Top

The software included with the package is also easy to use and allows for easy transfer of pictures or videos and synchronization with the computer. A USB 2.0 cable is provided for connecting the camera to the computer. The EasyShare option allows the user to print the pictures directly from the camera without computers provided you have the Easy Doc which is not a part of the standard package.

The C330 has a remarkable still picture quality. It stays the same even if you choose the lower 1.0 MP resolution. The multiple flash with automatic red-eye reduction works well too (blinded my friend for a good 30 seconds). For users who want good value for money, this is something to brag about. The zoom factor of the camera is also one of its strong points. Also, the on-camera cropping feature allows you to discard the unwanted parts from pictures.
The video mode is fixed at 320 x 240 pixels and 20 frames per second and the quality is good but a better audio capture capability would have been a plus. The video quality is good for sending video-mails or laid-back captures but the C330 is of no use when it comes to recording key family gatherings. You have to set the focus (zoom) before start recording the video as the camera doesn't allow you to zoom in or out in the middle of a recording.

But, one of the most significant limitations is the battery life. It eats up power like a shredder on steroids. We, replaced two pairs of Duracell Alkaline batteries for using the camera for clicking about 50 pictures and around 3 minutes of video footage. You can almost forget taking this camera along on trips without having an extra bag just for the batteries. A set of rechargeable heavy duty batteries is a must for this cam.


Apart from the limiting factors, overall performance of the camera was good and at times better than what we were expecting. The C330 is available for around Rs. 8500 with a one year warranty, and is a good buy for new or first time users who want a easy-to-use digital camera with a fair amount of features.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Nokia 8800 Aston Martin Edition

Nokia 8800 Aston Martin Edition
This summer, Nokia has turned up the heat by several notches with the launch of an Aston Martin version of its handset. This tri-band GSM phone has a stainless steel casing and weighs around 133 grams. Also included, is a 1 Megapixel camera, music player and a 208 x 262 resolution screen. screensavers and wallpapers and the Vantage V8 engine revving ringtone are bundled along with the phone.

Nokia 8800 Aston Martin Edition

This limited edition phone is available directly through Aston Martin and costs $1,640.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Sony DCR-SR100

Sony has decided to break new grounds in its camcorder segment with the development of the DCR-SR100 hard drive camcorder. The DCR-SR100, with a 30 GB Hard Disk, can store over 20 hours of LP video (7 hours in high-quality mode) and features a 3.3 megapixel HAD CCD and a 10X Carl Zeiss Vario-Sonnar lens.The Nightshot mode allows users to capture video in total darkness and the built in microphone captures audio in Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound.

Sony DCR SR100

Sony plans to launch the camera in May for a price of $999.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Zenit FotoSniper

If you have a passion for photography or the zeal to hold a sniper, this is just the product for you. Russian camera makers Zenit have produced a hybrid sniper-cam, consisting of a Zenit 122 SLR camera and a rifle mount. The odd looking equipment is made so to enable steady shots. It allows for a great zoomed shot sans the blood. You can take great shots at a distance without the use of a Tripod. Take a shot at photography.

Zenit Fotosniper

Planon RC800 Scan Pen

Scan Pen
Planon RC800 is a Scanpen which scans in color, has 8Mb of flash memory and a microSD slot. It's a very sleek looking, pen-shaped scanner which is 9 " inch in length. For the cynics who may say that 9 " is too long to call it a pen, when was the last time your Parker scanned your photo. It works like your basic hand scanner; just slide it over the photo/page you want to scan. The image can later be transferred through your PC or Mac's USB. It's priced at $350, so better keep this baby deep in your pocket. And one way or the other you will need deep pockets to own this one.

Planon RC800 Scanpen

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Apple Intros Third-Gen Desktop

Apple Third Gen Desktop
Computer has released Remote Desktop 3, which the company says is a universal application optimized for its Intel-based Macs sporting over 50 new features that offer improvements in software distribution, asset management and remote assistance.

Building on Mac OS X version 10.4 "Tiger" innovations, Remote Desktop 3 incorporates features such as super fast Spotlight searches across multiple Tiger systems; more than 30 Automator actions to automate repetitive system administration tasks; Dashboard Widget for quick remote systems observation; and AutoInstall for installing software on mobile systems automatically.

Remote Desktop 3 also features system status indicators allowing administrators to check multiple systems; faster power copy files; remote drag and drop; remote copy and paste; persistent task history and task templates; curtain mode; application usage and user history reports; smart computer lists; and AES 128-bit encryption for secure communication between the desktop and clients.

Philip Schiller, senior vice president - worldwide product marketing, Apple Computer, said, "With Apple Remote Desktop 3, we've delivered powerful innovations that make it even easier and more affordable to manage Macs. Great new features such as remote Spotlight searching and customized Automator actions take advantage of innovations in Tiger, and make Apple Remote Desktop 3 a valuable tool for anyone managing more than one Mac."

Remote Desktop 3 is immediately available through the Apple Store (, Apple's retail stores and Apple Authorized Resellers for a suggested retail price of $299 (for managing up to 10 systems) and $499 (for managing an unlimited number of systems).

Desktop 3 is designed to run on any computer running Mac OS X v10.3.9 or later. An Ethernet (recommended), IP over FireWire or AirPort network connection is necessary.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Sony Launches CE-P MP3 Players

Sony Mp3 Player
Sony has announced the launch of a new set of under the name, the CE-P series.

The new walkman has built-in flash memory instead of hard drives or Hi-MD media, with models ranging in capacity from 512MB to 1GB and 2GB. With the 1GB and 512 MB players, an FM Tuner is optionally available giving users a wide variety of audio options.
As with most players featuring radio, the CE-P series allows direct recording on to memory for future playback.

Visually the CE-P is about 1.8-inches wide and about 3-inches tall, and features a 1.5-inch 260,000 color OLED display with a resolution of 128x128 pixels. The CE-P has a USB 2.0 interface to connect to PCs for transferring media, although there is no word of PlayForSure compatibility.

The player offers easy download capabilities by direct connection through the USB port, and each player comes with the latest SonicStage 3.4 software version for easy music management and transfer of listeners favourite tracks. The player features two languages; simplified Chinese and English.

The is compatible with most commonly used digital music formats like MP3, ATRAC and unsecured WMA files, along with BMP and JPEG viewing capabilities. The new MP3 player boasts 28 hours playback when using the ATRAC3 format, and has a quick-charge functionality giving three hours of battery life in just three minutes.

Jeffry Van Ede, vice president, Sony Europe, said that with the new player the company is offering owners a winning combination of style, ease-of-use and functionality.

The new slimline walkman builds on the design success of its predecessors, by providing a compact polycarbonate "stick" in a range of vibrant colours including pink, blue, silver, violet, black, and lime green.

has also launched a series of accessories to accompany the new players including neck strap headphones, protective case, and an armband case for listeners on-the-go.

Although Sony has yet to fix the prices for players in the UK and US, these will be available from the end of April 2006 across Europe.

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