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Data Drive Thru Tornado

We’ve seen various USB transfer devices over the years, and for the most part they’ve been clunky and sloooow. Not so with Data Drive Thru’s Tornado, which blew into our Lab and impressed the hell out of us. Essentially a coiled, flat USB 2.0 cable that retracts into a plastic housing, the Tornado works by plugging into the Hi-Speed USB ports of two PCs running a newer Windows OS (Millennium, 2000, XP, or Vista). A basic file-transfer application executes from a bit of flash memory in the device, which allows you to simply drag and drop files between the two rigs. Similar cables from other companies force you to install software to transfer files.

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FujiFilm F40fd

If you are all about achieving the highest possible image quality (even at the expense  of other features), Fuji’s F40fd is the camera in this roundup for you.

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Olympus Stylus 780

Olympus’s Stylus 780 packs a 7.1 megapixel sensor, a 5x optical zoom, a crisp 2.5-inch LCD, and face-detection technology into a weatherproof camera body that is slightly larger but more stylish than the Sony DSC-W80’s.

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Sony Cyber-shot DCS W80

Sony’s 7.2 megapixel DSC-W80 boots quickly, and its 3x zoom lens focuses with minimal shutter delay. Plus, this cam includes a traditional, if tiny, optical viewfinder!

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Rocketfish USB Gaming Headset

The gap between cheap and inexpensive widens to a yawning chasm when you’re talking audio gear, which is why we’re so pleasantly surprised with the Rocketfish gaming headset. We didn’t realize this was a Best Buy private-label product until after we’d given it a listen, but we’re glad we didn’t dismiss it out of hand.

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Turtle Beach Ear Force AK-R8 Headset

One of the reasons we picked Turtle Beach’s Ear Force HPA2 headset as one of the 19 awesome upgrades we recommended in our June 2007 issue was the fact that it’s analog and can be paired with a soundcard. The new Ear Force AK-R8 is USB only, but this enables it to offer some compelling features in addition to fabulous surround sound.

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Netgear WNR854T

Netgear’s WNR854T was faster than any other router in this roundup in our close-range tests, lost the least amount of potency while running WEP security, and came in second in our 40-foot test, bested by D-Link’s DIR-655. But Netgear’s entry was several times slower than D-Link’s in our 150-foot test. (See page 70 for benchmark details.)

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Logitech G9

It’s difficult to improve on something that’s already damn near perfect. That’s the problem Logitech faced when designing the follow-up to the kick-ass G5 gaming mouse. The new G9 features an innovative, but not necessarily improved, design.

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