Hardware

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LG GGW-H10NI Super Multi Blue

Before you get too excited about LG’s combo optical drive, bear in mind that while the GGW-H10NI Super Multi Blue can read both Blu-ray and HD DVD discs, it can write to only the former format. Still, this drive offers a degree of flexibility that no other next-gen drive we’ve tested has. You won’t be shut out of watching movies from studios that have allied themselves with just one of the high-def formats. Not surprisingly, this luxury doesn’t come cheap. At $1,200, the Super Multi Blue costs more than your average Blu-ray burner—by as much as $600.

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Gateway FPD2485W

Gateway’s 24-inch LCD stands out in this crowd by offering far and away the most input options: VGA and DVI ins are joined by S-video, composite, and two component connectors, as well as four USB 2.0 ports. This LCD, however, also sports the most annoying OSD. Menu selections are accompanied by sound effects that are reminiscent of a Casio keyboard’s. And while there’s a healthy array of menu options to choose from, none appears to disable the menu’s audio. Twitchy touch-sensitive OSD buttons certainly don’t help matters.

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DoubleSight DS-240WB

DoubleSight is best known for its two-in-one monitor solutions, such as the dual 19-inch display we reviewed in March 2007, but we’ll take a single seamless 24-inch screen over that option any day. The DS-240WB looks all business with a simple but sturdy black frame. Its telescoping neck lets you adjust the screen’s height, plus you can tilt, pivot, and rotate the screen’s orientation. Input options consist of one VGA, one DVI, and one audio input. To access the whole gamut of onscreen display (OSD) options, you’ll need to use VGA. For instance, you can adjust the screen’s individual color channels and even its overall color tone only with the analog interface; DVI limits you to contrast and brightness changes.

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Samsung Q1 Ultra

Microsoft created a ton of fuss with the launch of a version of Windows tuned for palmtops and other keyboardless PCs. But the devices that utilized it—code-named Origami—couldn’t live up to the prelaunch hype. The initial Windows XP–powered Ultra-Mobile PCs (UMPCs) suffered from a tacked-on user interface, goofy or unusable input mechanisms, poor performance, and an absurdly high price. Although Samsung’s second-gen Q1 Ultra fixes some of these problems, many others remain.

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Intermatic Home Settings Lighting Control Starter Kit

If you’re considering automating your home, lighting is the best place to start. But if you’re afraid that handling bare electrical wires will leave you with an Einsteinian hairdo, pick up Intermatic’s Home Settings Starter Kit.

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Dremel Stylus 1100

A cordless rotary tool that is easy to handle, powerful, and holds a charge? Come on now - stop pulling my leg.