Now this phone is sexy. And its tiny candy-bar formfactor, shiny, white fascia, and knobby plastic buttons make it not only attractive, but easy to use—plus its sound quality was noticeably better than the SMC phone’s. Battery life is roughly the same as a good cell phone—about three hours of talk time; 15-20 hours of standby.
SMC’s Skype phone is proof positive that consumer electronics design in 2006 is largely inspired by the iPod. Shiny, white plastic design? Check. Rounded edges? Check. Flat face? Check. Poor user interface that frequently doesn’t work right, and a screen that sometimes shuts off at random? Oh wait, Apple’s products don’t have that.
There are two types of webcams: the cheap devices used for online chats, and the expensive models used for video surveillance. Toshiba’s new IK-WB15A Network Camera falls squarely in the latter category, but it offers some features you won’t find on products costing twice as much.
Combining a Blu-ray drive with a USB interface seems at first like hitching a flying saucer to a wheelbarrow. Can USB’s meager bandwidth handle such newfangled technology? Even at full-tilt, 2x Blu-ray burns hover in the 8MB/s range, which is actually slower than an 8x DVD burn. So, yes, USB 2.0 provides plenty of bandwidth.
When is a Plextor drive a Plextor drive? Certainly not when it’s a Panasonic.
To get onboard the Blu-ray train in a hurry, Plextor rebadged a Panasonic SW-5582 Blu-ray drive as its own. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. Invaluable firmware updates will come from Plextor and not some Pac Rim outfit. And to be fair, the Panasonic’s far better than the first-gen Pioneer Blu-ray drive we reviewed in October, which couldn’t even read CDs.