Jun 23rd, 2009 1:14:39 am - Subscribe
|Targeted at teens, the Veo Connect offers a good way to test the Webcam waters without making a big commitment or a major cash outlay. It's attractive, easy to set up and use, and includes software chock-full of fun tools for holding video chats, making movies, creating e-greeting cards, and even building a home page. However, with a price tag of less than $30, the Veo Connect produces predictably low-quality images. SkilledWebcam fans, steer clear: you'll undoubtedly find the narrow field of view and loose focus frustrating.This Webcam's body looks like a sports-car spoiler: it sweeps up in the back to hold Veo's signature bright-blue LED. The flat base is sturdy enough to hold the camera in place on a desk or monitor, or if you want, just pull out the standard tripod mount. The ball mount lets you swivel 360 degrees and tilt 20 degrees up or down. You can also purchase the spring-loaded spider clip, which comes standard on the Advanced Connect model, from Veo's site.
While it has a slick design, the Connect can't take advantage of its three-element glass lens because of the focus ring's instability. The loose ring slips out of focus easily, which makes it difficult to get a sharp image. To its credit, Veo claims to be working on improving it.The Veo has basic Webcam features to match its price: focusing lens, snapshot button, and in-use light. The Veo Digital Studio software is built for ease of use, so it has almost no learning curve. You can record still and video images and store them in the program's gallery, which is essentially a set of default folders for photos, videos, animation, graphics, and music.
The f/2.8 lens provides a narrow 46-degree field of view, so you'll have to position it farther from your subject than other Webcams. The 6-foot cable provides plenty of room to do it, but this creates a problem for focusing because the optimal location may be less than an arms-length away. While you can use the camera for more general photography and video (albeit tethered to your PC), it's really best for static head-shot Webcam applications.You get what you pay for: the Veo's performance isn't great. The automatic white balance works relatively well across different light sources, depending on your subject. Veo claims speeds of up to 30 frames per second (fps) for video recording, but we couldn't get more than 15fps at any light level or resolution. Unlike Logitech's Webcams, you can't override the automatic settings to force a higher frame rate. More annoying, if you move the camera, even while simply focusing the lens, the image wavers and distorts. Nor is this a camera you want to pan with.
Logitech's classic Web camera is better than ever. The QuickCam Pro 4000 produces megapixel still pictures, offers improved white balance, and comes with a new IM Video Companion service so that you can chat with full video on both AOL Instant Messenger and MSN Messenger. While this model still looks like its predecessor, the QuickCam Pro 3000, the 4000 outperforms the older version, thanks to new drivers that deliver better quality and performance.Weighing 7.6 ounces, the QuickCam Pro 4000 is lighter than its older brother by half an ounce. A tighter mount for the 4.5mm f/2.2 glass lens makes for easier and more accurate focusing, and unlike with Logitech's earlier model, the lens does not protrude outside the camera as you focus. This cam sports a new, larger, ball-and-socket mount so that you can pan 360 degrees or tilt it vertically about 45 degrees. But unlike the more robust Veo Advanced Connect base, the QuickCam Pro 4000 doesn't tilt sideways. And the base mount could use some work; it tends to pop apart when you move it around.
As with mostPC cameras, the majority of the QuickCam Pro 4000's features are in the software. The camera sports a VGA-sized (640x480-pixel) CCD sensor, a glass lens, and a built-in microphone. The top-mounted shutter-release button lets you click off a snapshot using the ImageStudio software, though we found it too easy to hit by accident when positioning the camera. This Webcam also includes a privacy shade that you can flip over the lens if there's someone or something that you don't want the camera to see. This cover is mounted by the dimples on either side of the unit, though, and tends to fall off when bumped.
ImageStudio offers camera settings and control; still or video recording; time-lapse and animation photography; and a nice motion-detector utility. A notify tray icon brings up ImageStudio, as well as the camera control. You can view saved photos as you create them using the My Gallery utility, which also includes some modest editing capabilities. Still images are saved as JPEGs, while video is stored in the AVI format. If you click this QuickCam's E-mail Video button, the software compresses your AVI file into the Microsoft Windows Media (WMV) format. Interestingly, ImageStudio saves compressed videos to a file rather than firing up your default e-mail client. However, you can specify an alternate e-mail client from the Settings dialog box. You can also choose Compress from the QuickView window's Save As dialog box and select any compression codec that's present on your system. Our 2.1MB test clip shrank to 86K as a WMV file. While quality suffers in the compressed version, it's fine for sending baby pictures to Grandma.
As previously mentioned, the My Gallery utility provides very rudimentary image editing and the ability to add text to video. For more involved editing and special effects, you'll want to load MGI's bundled VideoWave SE 4.0 and PhotoSuite SE 4.0 applications.For a USB camera, video performance is good. You can capture 160x120 and 320x240 video at 30 frames per second (fps) with a reasonably fast PC. We tested the QuickCam Pro 4000 with a 1GHz machine and produced a 30fps video with a well-synchronized audio track. Audio quality with the camera mike is fine for normal speech. At 640x480, the frame rate drops to 15fps, though movement still appears smooth. We noticed very little blurring on normal movement in videos, something that has dogged all of the Veo cams.
When taking photographs, we found a delay of one to two seconds usingthe web camera's Snapshot button. However, the Take A Picture control in ImageStudio grabs a shot at once. In both cases, the audio shutter sounds immediately, which is misleading when using the button on the camera since the photo is captured a second or two later.The VGA image sensor and the lens produce generally sharp photos, with the ability to focus down to 0.25 inches. The barrel distortion that plagued the earlier Logitech 3000 is gone, though the angle of view has been reduced slightly. The automatic white balance gives consistent color between different light sources, but overall color balance tends toward cool. Logitech has reduced the default color-saturation level, which more accurately reproduces colors but with less pop. If you are used to the rich color of the 3000, the QuickCam Pro 4000's photos will appear flat. Logitech claims that it has heard complaints from men who looked like they were wearing lipstick in the overly saturated images.
Jun 21st, 2009 7:25:26 pm - Subscribe
|If you're looking for a first digital SLR, they don't get much more appealing than the 6.3-megapixel Canon EOS 10D. Replacing the popular D60, the 10D provides improved image quality and a slightly more streamlined design without sacrificing the broad accessory and lens compatibility of the EOS line. Though professionals will still sigh longingly for the finer controls and the better performance and image quality of the far more expensive EOS 1Ds, the 10D makes a great choice for those seeking the flexibility and quality of an SLR without the sticker shock.
For the 10D, Canon employs a functional, fairly typical digital SLR (dSLR) design, making only a few departures from this camera's predecessor, the D60. Without a lens but with a CompactFlash card and battery installed, the 10D's solid-feeling black magnesium-alloy body weighs nearly two pounds but fits comfortably into your hand. Most buttons and control dials are clustered on the top right and back left of the camera, while the mode dial sits on the left-hand side of the camera top--a sensible choice.
You use a right-hand thumbwheel on the back to navigate the simply organized LCD menu system and change selected settings; you change others via a dial behind the shutter-release button. There are two on/off switches on the back. One controls the main power, and the other turns the thumbwheel off and on; we find the latter relatively useless, as the thumbwheel isn't really susceptible to being turned accidentally.
Fujifilm has had a reputation of launching economical, yet feature packed digital cameras for the budget conscious customer. More often than not, you will find many cameras in the market with more features than the Fujifilm devices, but you will find heir price tags to be way too high.
Fujifilm has launched yet another cheaply priced camera in the market. The company has launched the Fujifilm FinePix J20 that is priced at a mere $130. The aspects that make this camera worth going for, in addition to an economical price tag, are its excellent image quality, good design, user friendliness, and style quotient.
The Fujifilm FinePix J2is a slim 10 megapixels device. In terms of design, the camera is a mere 0.7 inches in terms of thickness and its body is made metallic. You will find a 3X optical zoom lens in the camera. The camera also features a very effective ‘digital image stabilization’ mode.
This mode lets you click clear and sharp images even when you move the camera around fiercely in between the shots. This is the first time that the ‘digital image stabilization’ mode has been incorporated in an entry level camera by any company. The camera features a 2.7-inch big LCD screen. You will find the essential shutter, off/on buttons on the top of the 10 digital camera.
You will find controls like playback button, settings button, zoom button, and menu button at the back side of the camera. These controls give company to the LCD screen. The camera sports SD/SDHC and the mini-USB connector at the bottom of the body.
The camera features about 17 scene modes in addition to the basic modes like Auto mode, Manual mode, Automated Scene Recognition mode, and Movie mode. Thecamera records 640 by 480 resolution AVI clips at a rate of 30 frames per second. The image quality from this camera is very good.
The images come out to be very less distorted and boast of natural, vibrant, yet bright colors. The battery life of the camera is good in such a way that you can take about 221 shots on a single full charge of the battery. If you are looking for an exciting entry level camera with a decent price, the FinePix J20 is an excellent
Jun 21st, 2009 12:05:08 am - Subscribe
|What could be the driving-force to popularize a gadget than making it colorful? This is what Transcend did with its all-in-one USB card reader P8. The high-profile card reader is now shiny with baby blue and pearl pink colors appealing to the trendy customers who want to boost their lifestyles with modern gadgets.
The P8 is a compact card reader. It measures 77.7mm x 46mm x 15.8mm. The all-in-one card reader features a streamlined design with well-noticed rounded edges. The color combinations symbolize the design while enabling the customers to personalize the device to reflect their preferences. The highly portablecard reader has well-mentioned slots to avoid confusion and unnecessary time consumption.
The all-in-one card reader supports photo recovery software to restore lost or scratched files like documents, spreadsheets, music or videos. The Transcend P8 card reader is more appealing ever before because of its unique shape, color combination, stylish design and functionalities.
Austin Huang, the Regional Head, Sales at Transcend’s SAARC & APAC divisions explained, “Featuring an all-new glossy pearlescent finish, these scrumptious new colors are certain to be the life of the party. Its extra-convenient design, attractive colors, and time-saving photo recovery software, Transcend’s versatile P8 card reader is an ideal companion for any memory card user.”
The card reader is compatible with Transcend service network and high-speed USB 2.0 specification. It features an LED, which shows data traffic and card insertion. As of now, the card reader is available in four colors. These are white (P8W), baby blue (P8A), pearly pink (P8R) and black (P8K) colors.
Transcend has hit the Indian market with the unveiling of its latest, stylish P8 All-In-One USB Card Reader that comes featured with a smooth design with round edges. The latest compact device is user-friendly and simple to carry.
Measured just 77.7mm x 46mm x 15.8mm, the Transcend P8 boasts clearly labeled card slots and for a mega-fast transfer of videos, music, photos or documents, users just need to plug it into any USB2.0 port. In addition, the P8 Card Reader comes built-in with free photo recovery software that allows easy and quick previews of the recovered data. Rest-oring damaged or lost files remains only a click away.
with today’s sophisticated digital cameras that include many complex functions, it is pretty common to press the wrong button and accidentally delete a picture or file that you wanted to keep. Transcend now has a solution that offers piece of mind and extra convenience for memory card users – the versatile P8 USB card reader.”
Adding more to the points, he said, “Now files and photos previously thought erased for good can be quickly recovered through the P8 card reader’s innovative Photo Recovery Tool. We are confident that our customers will appreciate the intuitive functionality.”
As the features, the photo recovery software including P8 claims to offer a user-friendly and trouble-free interface, which allows users to protect traces of erased files from the memory card.
Jun 21st, 2009 12:03:25 am - Subscribe
|Accessory powerhouse Logitech is getting into the computer-mouse market with the new MX Air, a rechargeable cordless mouse that can control a computer's cursor just by being moved through the air (when placed on a flat surface, it works as regular laser mouse). At $149, it's not the cheapest mouse on the market, not even the cheapest gyroscopic mouse, but it adds plenty of media-friendly features, such as playback and volume controls that work right out of the box. The MX Air isn't for everyone, and takes a little getting used to, but we're convinced that many users would be happier unshackling their mice from the desk.
Accessory powerhouse Logitech is getting into the gyroscopic-mouse market with the new MX Air, a rechargeable cordless mouse that can control a computer's cursor just by being moved through the air (when placed on a flat surface, it works as regular laser mouse). At $149, it's not the cheapest mouse on the market, not even the cheapest gyroscopic mouse, but it adds plenty of media-friendly features, such as playback and volume controls that work right out of the box. The MX Air isn't for everyone, and takes a little getting used to, but we're convinced that many users would be happier unshackling their mice from the desk.
The Microsoft Explorer Mini Mouse made its debut last year alongside its big brother, the Explorer. At just $60 ($20 less than the Explorer), the Mini model retains the same BlueTrack sensor that lets you use it accurately across a variety of surfaces that a normal laser mouse just can't handle. The only big differences are the smaller footprint and the nonrechargeable AA battery that powers the mouse and its USB receiver. The mouse isn't perfect, and lefties get the cold shoulder once again, but its accuracy and convenience make the Explorer Mini Mouse one of the most ideal travel companions to have in your luggage.
The highlight of the Explorer Mini is a proprietary technology that Microsoft calls "BlueTrack." BlueTrack combines the precision of laser tracking technology with the wide coverage of a standard optical mouse to let you use it on virtually any surface. This versatility should come as a relief for jet-setters who don't want to lug around a mouse pad around with their hardware--now you can mouse on a variety of tabletops, carpets, and other rough or reflective textures. While these surfaces present a problem for traditional mice, the Explorer Mini scrolls beautifully across all of them. The one exception we found is glass. In that case, the cursor became erratic, moving very slowly at times and jumping across the page at others.
mouse, and you get one in the box to start you off. The Explorer Mini's plug-and-play design also allows for incredibly easy setup with both Windows and Mac OS: just pop the USB 2.0 receiver off the bottom, plug it in, and the mouse will automatically install the drivers you need to get going. Unfortunately, the only way to turn off the mouse and save battery life is to take out the USB dongle and stick it back into the Explorer Mini itself. In other words, you can't just leave the receiver in your computer and slide a switch on the mouse to turn it off.
There are a lot of reasons why you may want to move your mousing out of the standard 2D, flat-on-the-desk mode. For computer users with persistent hand and arm pain caused by poor ergonomics or repetitive motion (sometimes called mouse arm), gyroscopic mice like those in the Gyration line have been good solutions, letting users lift the mouse up off the table and control the cursor by moving the mouse through the air. Later on, home theater enthusiasts also discovered gyroscopic mice, and these devices have become a popular, if not exactly common, choice for controlling the functions of a Media Center PC from the living room couch.
The MX Air is aimed clearly at the home theater market. Besides left and right mouse buttons and a touch-sensitive scroll panel (replacing a traditional scroll wheel), the computer mouse includes a dedicated Play/Pause button that works in most media-playing apps, and a volume button. When the mouse is on a desk, the Volume button mutes and unmutes the sound. When you pick up the mouse in your hand, hold down the Volume button and move the mouse to the left or right, and a volume meter will pop up on the screen, allowing you to raise and lower the volume with a wave of the hand. Logitech's included driver software lets you reprogram these buttons as well.
The mouse has a built-in rechargeable battery, and sits in a small recharging dock when not in use. A tiny RF receiver, about the size of a USB memory key, plugs into a USB port on your system.
It takes a good 24 to 48 hours to get used to, but trying out a gyroscopic mouse can be an eye-opening experiment for any desktop or laptop user.
The MX Air is aimed clearly at the home theater market. Besides left and right mouse buttons and a touch-sensitive scroll panel (replacing a traditional scroll wheel), the usb mouse includes a dedicated Play/Pause button that works in most media-playing apps, and a volume button. When the mouse is on a desk, the Volume button mutes and unmutes the sound. When you pick up the mouse in your hand, hold down the Volume button and move the mouse to the left or right, and a volume meter will pop up on the screen, allowing you to raise and lower the volume with a wave of the hand. Logitech's included driver software lets you reprogram these buttons as well.
A single nonrechargeable AA battery powers the mouse, and you get one in the box to start you off. The Explorer Mini's plug-and-play design also allows for incredibly easy setup with both Windows and Mac OS: just pop the USB 2.0 receiver off the bottom, plug it in, and the mouse will automatically install the drivers you need to get going. Unfortunately, the only way to turn off the mouse and save battery life is to take out the USB dongle and stick it back into the Explorer Mini itself. In other words, you can't just leave the receiver in your computer and slide a switch the mini mouse to turn it off.
It takes a good 24 to 48 hours to get used to, but trying out aon gyroscopic mouse can be an eye
Jun 21st, 2009 12:01:25 am - Subscribe
|Designed by Sam Hecht, the hard drive bags and USB hubs are the perfect peripherals of today. Where, the USB hubs come with elegant and neat exteriors including incorporated cables for easy use, the bags have been crafted from different kinds of material and boasts of providing distinctive levels of safety. Though there is much to talk but here I will talk just about Core4 and Lacie Core7 USB hubs.
As the features, the hub also boasts of offering one easy and quick access port at the top for hooking up flash drives, whereas the additional five ports remain astutely hidden below the platform. The Core7 comes included with a USB cable to hook up to a power-supply cord and a PC/ Mac. It is also included with channels to let the cables be place for a neat and clean desktop.
Next to talk about is a four port USB hub, (Lacie Core4), which comes with 3 external USB cables and one incorporated mini-USB cable. The Core4 has been made for hooking up with several devices while on the go.
Bearing a resemblance to a tiny matchbox, the Core4 can be slid open to make access to a mini-USB cable and a USB. The mini-USB cable proves helpful to users in charging their mobile devices and eliminates the need to carry an extra charging cable. The other USB cable connects the Core4 to the PC or Mac.
In a household with multiple PCs and users, it can be a bit of a pain to share USB peripherals without losing track of who left what where. If your wireless router doesn't have a print/storage server built in, consider Belkin's Network USB Hub. This simple device combines a regularUSB hub with a print/storage server and lets you network up to five USB devices through a router. So you can corral your peripherals--external hard drives and printers and the like--in one central area and access them wirelessly while roaming about your home. The Network USB Hub lives up to Belkin's claim of simplicity and ease-of-use; we think it's worth the $130 price tag.
In a household with multiple PCs and users, it can be a bit of a pain to share USB peripherals without losing track of who left what where. If your wireless router doesn't have a print/storage server built in, consider Belkin's Network USB Hub. This simple device combines a regular USB hub with a print/storage server and lets you network up to five USB devices through a router. So you can corral your peripherals--external hard drives and printers and the like--in one central area and access them wirelessly while roaming about your home. The Network USB Hub lives up to Belkin's claim of simplicity and ease-of-use; we think it's worth the $130 price tag.
We haven't seen a similar device cross our desks yet. To be sure, there was a recent flurry of wireless USB devices, but don't confuse the two technologies. The wireless USB hubs establish a direct point-to-point contact between the hub and the adapter that's plugged into your PC. This technology reaches up to 30 feet and requires a line of sight. Belkin's Network USB hub connects your PC to USB devices over a Wi-Fi network, but tricks the PC into thinking it's making a direct USB connection to those devices. And as it works over your wireless network, you can use it from wherever you can maintain the wireless signal.
Setting up the NetworkUSB Hub was also simple: connect the hub's Ethernet port to a WAN port on your wireless router and power it up. If you've enabled DHCP on your router, you won't have to manually set up the hub, but if you haven't, you'll need to enter information such as the hub's Ethernet code (from the hub's underside). Then install the Control Center software that comes on a CD on each PC that will be accessing the hub (you won't be able to use the hub if you don't install the software). We should note that currently the Hub only works with Windows XP and Vista PCs; users will have to wait until September.
In the included literature, Belkin warns that certain types ofUSB devices may not be compatible, including TV tuners and Webcams. If you've connected such a device, a warning will show up in the control center. The Network USB Hub can support up to 16 connections at once, but be aware that a single device does not always equal a single connection. Multifunction printers, for example, often require up to four connections (one for each function).
Belkin backs the Network USB Hub with a three-year warranty. Toll-free phone support is provided 24-7, or you can fill out a Web form at Belkin's site for e-mail support. Belkin's site also includes documentation, downloadable drivers, and FAQs.
Belkin backs the NetworkUSB Hub with a three-year warranty. Toll-free phone support is provided 24-7, or you can fill out a Web form at Belkin's site for e-mail support. Belkin's site also includes documentation, downloadable drivers, and FAQs.