It’s taken many a year, but Microsoft is finally figuring out how to build operating systems for handheld devices. Windows Mobile Portable Media Center 2.0, embedded in Toshiba’s Gigabeat T400 4GB digital media player, is better than anything Apple has to offer.
Belkin’s N1 Vision takes user friendliness to a whole new level. This is the first router we’ve seen that offers extensive installation hand-holding right in the firmware—there’s no need to drop a CD in your drive.
If you’ve already installed a Wi-Fi router, you don’t need the vendor’s installation software to help you through the process. So we weren’t surprised that Trendnet didn’t develop anything for its TEW-633GR 802.11n Draft 2.0 product, relying instead on Pure Networks’ Network Magic.
Previous generations of Nvidia GPUs (AMD’s, too) presented buyers with a difficult choice: You could get great 3D performance for gaming or you could offload high-definition video decoding from the host CPU, but you couldn’t have both. Nvidia’s 8800 GT not only changes that situation, it does so at a competitive price.
D-Link’s DIR-655 was one of the fastest routers in our Draft-N roundup, and it proved best-in-breed in terms of range. But speed and range aren’t the only reasons to like this product. If you enjoy fine-tuning your network’s performance, the Xtreme N offers more control over more settings than anything else we tested.
From the get-go, Buffalo’s Nfiniti WZR2-G300N installation routine prompts you to establish a new password for accessing the router’s firmware. Considering all the legitimate concerns about network security, why is this step the exception rather than the rule for router-installation wizards?
Belkin’s N1 router looks gorgeous, and the company has put a lot of thought into making it easy for greenhorns to build a home network, but the N1 was the slowest in this field and it delivered very poor range.
You can never have too much speed or too much storage, and the Linksys WRT350N makes it easy to have both. This router took first place while running in 802.11n-only mode and second place while running in mixed 802.11b/g/n mode. And its Storage Link feature enables you to plug in any USB storage device to add NAS functionality—the only router in this roundup to offer such a feature.
We’ve long admired Microsoft’s Natural Ergonomic Keyboard 4000; its combination of a downward tilting typing surface and a split layout is the perfect salve for our aching wrists. But we aren’t as fond of the Natural Wireless Laser Mouse 6000, which is unfortunate, as the devices are paired in one bundle for the weak-wristed.