Picture_6Image isn’t everything. Beyond a solid Cyber-shot-branded cam, this tidy 118 gram candy bar comes chock full of sweet, easy-to-master programs that let you edit, remix and publish sharp pics and vid clips on the fly. In minutes, we whipped up a 45-second, 1.7 MB video slideshow that looked surprisingly decent online at 240x320. But despite Bluetooth, adequate web browsing and RSS feeds, this pin-striped, 3G beauty isn’t picture perfect. Switching between the somewhat finicky partial touch screen and quasi-D-pad really took some getting used to. And the keypad’s tiny nubs could aggravate even the daintiest netizens of Thumb Tribe, USA. —Steven Leckart

WIRED Truly pocket-size; accelerometer allows quick-flips between landscape and portrait. Swift and seamless, on-the-go publishing to Blogger. Always-on headlight option for dim video shoots. BestPic takes rapid sequence of nine images — bonus: “best” recommendation is mostly right on. Super accessible microSD slot can hold up to 4GBs (perfect for those Cloverfield moments)

TIRED No optical zoom. Sluggish Auto Fix takes 30-45 seconds per pic. Snapping shots silences FM radio. No Wi-Fi, no GPS, no geocoded vaca pics. Neither a 3.5 mm nor a 2.5mm headhpone jack (better RFID that Sony FastPort set of earbuds!)

$500, sonystyle.com (story Link)

Cowon Q5W 40GB Portable Media Player  

Posted by Mohammad Talha in , , , ,

Q5wWith a Windows CE OS, an AMD 600MHz processor, and Wi-Fi web browsing, Cowon's newest media player seems more like an Ultra Mobile PC than a PMP. And like the poorly received UMPC, the Q5W doesn't quite deliver on its abundance of promised functionality. The unit's gorgeous 5-inch, 800 x 480 LCD touch-screen and built-in DivX and XviD codec support make watching flicks on the go the Q5W's forte, with 40GB or 60GB to store plenty of compressed video. The rest of the player's functions are hampered by the Q5W's slapdash UI — it actually runs as a program on top of the Windows CE interface, complete with annoying hourglass loading visuals. The interface's minuscule on-screen buttons, especially in sub-menus, make using the stylus an unfortunate necessity. Even though the Q5W conveniently supports flash-based web-browsing, surfing duties are relegated to Windows CE's Internet Explorer, rendering both the mobile and standard version of YouTube inoperable WTF? This is supposed to be a video centric player, not a video player hater. Add the Q5W's absurdly high $550 base price — almost twice of the lovely Archos 605 WiFi — and its quirks are even tougher to stomach. —Carlos Bergfeld

WIRED Fantastic audio quality and video playback. Loud, built-in stereo speakers for group viewing parties/rocking out. Support for DivX, XviD, MPEG4, WMV 7/8/9 video files. Bevy of audio formats including: Ogg Vorbis, FLAC, and Monkey's Audio. Wi-Fi enabled with MSN messenger and Flash-supported web browsing. Can act as a USB host to directly upload and view images from cameras, with format support for previewing Nikon RAW pics. Component/composite TV-out and remote for big-screen viewing. Bluetooth 2.0 support for wireless headphones.

TIRED Poor UI coupled with Windows CE 5.0 gives the Q5W the feeling of a shoddily constructed homebrewed device. We got only 4.8 hours of video playback; significantly lower than Cowon’s estimated 7 hours.  Aluminum housing gets scorching hot after an hour of video play. No kickstand for hands-free use. Music library uses a horrid file tree for browsing media. Deficient 128MB RAM not enough to support flash-intensive web sites like YouTube. Can't charge battery via USB cable. High price cripples good looks.

$550 as tested, cowonamerica.com (story Link)

Nokia5

Many moons ago, a laptop, a cell phone, and a cinder block got together for a hot three-way love fest. The product of this freaky, sweaty, and possibly illegal union? The Nokia E90 communicator — a device with some serious identity issues, but also one with some serious talent too.

Let’s be up front about it: this monstrous device at 7.4 ounces and 5.2 x 2.24 x 0.79 inches is not attractive in the slightest. In fact, the unappealing shell and sheer physical size make it a colossal pain in the ass to lug around in public. Clearly, the E90 is made to fit in briefcases—not skinny hipster jeans. Business folks and texting junkies, though, will love the full QWERTY keyboard, a feature that makes composing legalese missives, or elaborate IMs a relatively painless process. (Ever try tapping out a Google doc on the iPhone’s touch screen? Yeesh.) But even more appealing is the impressive palette of functions Nokia manages to cram into the beast: a 3.2 megapixel camera with flash and autofocus, 640 x 480 video resolution at 30fps, 3G compatibility, Wi-Fi, infrared, and Bluetooth connectivity, a voice recorder, GPS Navigation, push-to-talk, both Flash and (scoff) Real Player.Nokia6

Nokia3No, it’s not going to tuck you into bed at night, and we’re guessing it won’t get you chicks either (really though, what gadget does?) but the E90 is definitely a good choice for those who want laptop functionality dressed up in the guise of a cell phone. —Nate Ralph

WIRED Great for creating and editing text docs. Can be easily set up as a wireless modem. Integrated GPS means you’ll probably never ask for directions again. Functions perfectly as a cell — the voice quality is on par with the iPhone. Reads PDFs.  Robust keyboard means you can work on that novella while waiting for the bus. No more procrastinating!

TIRED Finding applications in the endlessly layered menu system is consistently confusing. Flat keypad makes typing often feel ambiguous. Screen is hard to see in direct sunlight. Pricey, ungainly, and, worst of all, fugly. $1100, nokia.com (story Link)

LogitechdinovominiSchwag bags and hangovers aren't the only things we brought back from CES. We also got a stowaway in the form of Logitech's diNovo Mini. Cracking open its stylish, black clamshell revealed everything we've ever wanted in a keyboard/remote hybrid: A full QWERTY layout, dedicated media buttons, and a mini trackpad. Paired with its rechargeable lithium-ion battery and Bluetooth connectivity, the Mini should've been the Holy Grail for home theater PC controllers. Unfortunately, when it came to pairing that style with actual functionality, Logitech balances things ...poorly.

Logitech had the right idea in bringing the keyboard to the living room, and that's where the Mini truly shines. Although it feels more like a Blackberry than a traditional QWERTY, the Mini's rubberized keys were easy to navigate and responsive. Switching from movies to IMing was as simple as hitting the pause key, using the trackpad to navigate to the IM window, and then typing away. But at a little over six inches wide, you're not going to be clocking Mavis Beacon speeds. We found that the best strategy for hammering out URLs and short messages was using our thumbs.

When it came to web surfing and other tasks that relied heavily on the trackpad, we hit a few bumps. The good news is that the trackpad can be toggled into two modes: One for basic "up-down-left-right" movement, and another for traditional analog control. We had little trouble with the simple quad-directional interface, but that's probably because we only found it useful for navigating Media Center menus. However, the analog control was much more finicky, requiring a lot of sensitivity tweaks to pull off semi-advanced moves like clicking and dragging icons. Setbacks like these make it clear that the Mini is a niche home theater device first, and a mouse/keyboard replacement second. On top of its triple digit price point, it looks like we'll stick to walking across the room to press our buttons. —Terrence Russell

WIRED A quick fix for the home theater PC/remote conundrum. Decent battery life. Bluetooth dongle hides away in battery compartment. Easy setup. Orange and green backlit keys ensure easy usage in the dark. PS3 compatible.

TIRED
At $150, it should control more — like maybe a game console. Trackpad wakes up slowly. Plastic housing feels flimsy and attracts fingerprints. Don't even think about high impact FPS action. Lack of IR capability limits use with other components.  No Apple or XBox 360 support? FAIL!  $150, logitech.com (story Link)

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