One of the most obvious differences between an external optical drive and its internal brethren is in appearance. A device that’s going to sit out in the open for anyone to see, after all, has to look the part. Lite-On’s latest EZ-Dub optical drive accomplishes this with a fashionable white and black aesthetic that would surely do Apple proud. It’s an update from the more staid look of the previous EZ-Dub model, which was also nearly two inches longer and a half-inch taller. As with the older model, this EZ-Dub comes with a stand, so you can set the drive on its side to save desktop space.
Pink is our new obsession, and we have Western Digital to blame. Its pink, portable Passport hard drive (try saying that fast) is small enough to fit in Steven Tyler’s mouth, yet it comes with two of our most favorite features in the world: sweet speeds and snazzy backup software. And to top it off, you have to carry only a single USB cable alongside the little sweetheart, as there’s no accompanying power brick or annoying connector.
We were about to lead off this review with a Nelson Muntz-style “ha-ha” at Seagate, whose 750GB FreeAgent Pro has now fallen from the top of our external storage rankings thanks to Maxtor’s OneTouch 4. And then we remembered that Seagate now owns Maxtor. Whoops.
You can’t help but be impressed that Samsung’s 940UX provides 19 inches of 1280x1024-res full-color LCD action over a USB 2.0 interface. How is that even possible? It’s the result of a built-in DisplayLink chip and driver, which handles graphics duties and makes the monitor instantly recognized by the OS as a connected USB device—no manual configuration required. It’s an amazingly simple and convenient way to add one or more monitors to a PC that lacks any additional videocard ports. Samsung says you can even daisy-chain up to six 940UX LCDs to a single machine (each monitor sports one upstream and two downstream USB 2.0 ports) provided your CPU can accommodate them. Minimum requirements for one or two 940UX monitors is a 1.2GHz CPU and 512MB of memory, and it scales up from there.
Quick, call Maxwell Smart. We’ve identified a KAOS plot aimed at destroying American worker productivity. Now thanks to 3DConnexion, that evil plot to have 90 percent of Americans flying all over the globe using Google Earth—instead of working — just got easier, and thus more KAOtic.
We received a ton of feedback on our reviews of Audio-Technica’s AT-PL50 and Ion Audio’s ITTUSB turntables in our May 2007 issue, but since we concluded that neither of those products was fabulous, we brought in this more upscale Stanton model for a look.