2007

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iZ3D 22-inch 3D LCD

Over the years, 3D displays have periodically surfaced, but none has taken hold. The public just hasn’t had the stomach for them. Cost has been one factor, but also, the stereoscopic imagery used to create a 3D effect tends to cause dizziness and nausea in users after even short periods. Nevertheless, vendors keep plugging away at the concept, hoping to capitalize on the growing number of games and movies produced in 3D.

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Sony Handycam HDR-SR7 Hard Drive Recorder

This Handycam felt rock solid and provided the best optical image stabilization. Its stop/start button is in the perfect place, but the zoom control is positioned right where your middle finger rests—bad idea. We like the “easy” mode, which, with the push of a button, takes care of exposure and focus for most situations.

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Canon HV20 HDV Camcorder

If you don’t mind dealing with miniDV tape, the Canon HV20 is a fine choice. However, we prefer having nonlinear random access to shots, rather than rolling through an anachronistic tape to find a shot. We also don’t care for the cheap, plastic feel of this unit or its “advanced accessory shoe” cover that pops off with little provocation. But the HV20’s HDV format is a lot easier to edit, with that same familiar, comfortable workflow you get with DV tape: Capture clips on the PC via a FireWire port and then you’re off and editing without a lot of annoying steps in between.

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JVC G7-HD7 Everio Hard Drive Camcorder

With its stylish square lens hood and beautiful design, the HD7 just begs you to pick it up and start shooting. We especially like its focus ring (it’s just like what’s on pro lenses), which you can use to manually focus the lens. However, we don’t much care for the lens cover that makes you shift a lever to move it out of the way. Nor were we impressed with its optical image stabilization, which didn’t seem to do much of anything. We also didn’t care for the break in the audio between each shot when we played back output via HDMI on our HDTV.

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Panasonic HDC-SX5

Here’s the most versatile camcorder of the bunch, letting you record 28 minutes of its best-quality video per 3-inch DVD. If you don’t feel like dealing with discs, you can cram 80 minutes of HD footage on an 8GB SDHC flash memory card instead. If you do record to a DVD, you can pop that disc into a compatible Blu-ray player (our Sony BDP S-300 played the disc perfectly) or play the disc back directly from the camera. But the DVD format has its drawbacks—it’s slow to read when you turn on the camera, taking seven seconds from a cold start. And once you’re done shooting, unless you’re using DVD-RAM, you’ll need to finalize the disk before you can read any of the files on the computer or play them back, which takes about five minutes for each minute of footage shot.

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Seagate Momentus 7000.2

Seagate wasn’t the first to the 7,200rpm mark, but that hasn’t stopped it from making the fastest hard drive around. The Momentus 7200.2 has a well-deserved reputation as the notebook hard-drive performance king. What you give up in space, you gain in speed—the Momentus easily eclipses the ginormous Western Digital Scorpio in read speed, access time, and all around zippiness. (Seagate has announced but not shipped a 200GB version of this drive.)

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Western Digital WD2500BEVS Scorpio

Western Digital has pulled off a significant coup with its 250GB Scorpio notebook hard drive; the device is the current capacity champion. (Fujitsu has also announced a 250GB drive but has not shipped it yet.) Packing 250GB into two platters, the areal density of the Scorpio easily outstrips that of the other hard drive reviewed here—Seagate’s two-platter 160GB Momentus drive.

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Toshiba Portege R500

When we first laid eyes on Toshiba’s latest ultraportable, we were in awe of its crazy-thin, crazy-light profile. In the past, such notebooks sacrificed performance to fit into such tiny shells. To combat this performance sag, Toshiba paired its machine with Intel’s new ultra-low-voltage Core 2 Duo.

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Mtron MSD-S25032

An early 16GB SATA solid-state drive from Mtron wowed us, but that was just the beginning. The company’s 32GB version of the drive slays all other contenders for the speed crown.

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