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.
Garage developers have coded some of the most amazing software available today—including MemoriesOnTV Pro. Version 3.0 of Codejam’s powerful slide show maker packs in a ton of new features and improvements yet maintains the friendly design that we’ve long loved about the app.
Remember when your high school counselor asked you about your life goals? Remember when you told her that you just wanted to finish high school? Remember when she sighed and told you to set your goals a little higher? The folks at Trevoli should do the same thing with Photo Finale.
Now this is cool. the Show Me Disk includes an 11-character readout that displays any name you create for your key. Whatever you you type into Windows Explorer shows up on the key’s display, so people will know its “Josh’s key,” or they’ll see that “Cats rule,” maybe. The display also features a pie chart and numerical rating for the available capacity, which is wicked-awesome. You just glance at the pie or the number to find out how much space you have left. We love these features! There’s one tiny problem: This key is slow as molasses in a New York winter. It’s so slow we grew a beard transferring 1GB of data to the device. We then had ample time to shave said beard reading that 1GB of data from the key.
Look at this sexy mofo. Talk about elegant and sophisticated! And we love how its cap-less design addresses one of our biggest complaints with these drives—the caps always get lost! On this key, you push the USB header out of the key when you need it, and slide it back in when you’re done. This not only reduces the key’s size considerably, but it protects the port as well. It’s a perfect design, in our opinion.
We’ve traditionally slammed Razer mice because their oversize buttons are too easy to accidentally click and their low-profile ambidextrous design hurts our hands over long sessions. The new Krait ditches the obnoxious, impossible-to-click side buttons that we detested on the Copperhead model and streamlines the overall shape of the mouse, for a mousing experience that had us pleasantly surprised.
We like the smooth-spinning mouse wheel on Microsoft’s Intellimouse Explorer 4 for application work and web browsing, but its detentless design leaves much to be desired when playing games where you use the mouse wheel to select your weapons. Until now, you couldn’t have it both ways. Logitech’s MX Revolution sports a wheel that will spin for the better part of a minute, but when you’re ready to jump into a game, just press down on the middle button and the mouse wheel shifts to a standard clicky mode.