Hardware

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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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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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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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