Hardware

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Seagate 160GB Portable External

Seagate’s portable external drive sports the highest capacity in its class, by 40GB, thanks to its perpendicular recording technology, which packs more data on every platter of the hard drive. It comes in a rough-and-ready aluminum enclosure that keeps the drive both safe and cool.

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ExtremeMac FS1

It’s been our experience that you get what you pay for, more often than not. The ExtremeMac FS1 earbuds, however, fall into the “not” territory. The $150 for-sale sign hanging on these little buggers easily qualifies them as the most expensive earphones of the group, but they certainly didn’t sound like it.

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Zyxel PL-100 Powerline Adapter

The Zyxel PL-100 uses the same Intellon INT 5500CS chipset that Netgear’s XE104 uses (reviewed May 2006), and the results are predictable: In our bandwidth tests, we managed a mere 1.2Mb/s—slower than our DSL line.

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Maxtor One Touch III 100GB

Maxtor has downsized its awesome One Touch Turbo desktop backup drive into this 100GB Mini model. It looks exactly the same as the Turbo, and it comes with the same excellent software.

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Creative Zen Aurvana

Creative has pulled together a very nice audio package here. The Aurvana’s are a terrific-sounding set of headphones that deliver crisp, well-defined audio across the sonic spectrum.

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Netgear HDX-B101

Brace yourself for this one, folks: The HDX-B101 powerline networking hardware actually delivers on its performance claims. Take a moment to breathe.

The bottom line is that the HDX-B101 is fast enough to stream video—even high-definition video—from your media server to your living room.

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Western Digital Passport 120GB

WD’s Passport is an all-around decent product, with a lot of storage and handy software, but fails to distinguish itself from similar Maxtor and Seagate products in any meaningful way.

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Sennheiser MX55 VC Street

Even after finding a good fit, many people have trouble with earbuds inexorably sliding out of their ear canal. Sennheiser thinks it has the solution—it’s called Twist-to-Fit— but we found this invention to be far worse than the problem.

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Samsung HD400LJ

Even though Seagate’s behemoth 750GB Barracuda is getting all the love from the media these days, most people can’t afford a drive that spacious. The sweet spot is still at 300-400GB drives, but even those prices fluctuate. Enter the SpinPoint HD400LJ—a drive that offers both ample room and extreme affordability.

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