ViewSonic’s VLED221wm 22-inch LCD is the first LED-backlit display to grace our Lab, and we were anxious to put the technology to the test. LCD monitors typically sport cold cathode fluorescent backlighting, which can be less than uniform, and because it’s always on in the background, it can impair a screen’s ability to produce a true black. With LEDs, the screen is backlit with a grid of lights that can be turned on and off as needed. Sure enough, the 1680x1050 VLED221wm was capable of a black that exceeded that of any other LCD we’ve tested—but the result was actually overkill.
Performance scores are one thing, but we’re equally impressed by Samsung’s technical accomplishment in achieving the highest areal density to date on its new series of Spinpoint F1 drives. And at the top of the heap sits the HD103UJ, the company’s long-awaited drive that reaches an areal density of an astonishing 334GB per platter.
At first glance, Zonet’s ZVC7630W Wi-Fi webcam seems to be a lust-worthy device. It’s equipped with a two-way intercom, automatic night-vision mode, a USB port for external storage, and software that supports up to 16 cameras. Our enthusiasm dwindled, however, once we got our hands on the device.
Addressing different designs for external storage enclosures is a lot like taking a microscope to Pop Tarts and counting the sprinkles to determine which pastry variety contains maximum tastiness. Or at least, that’s what it feels like. Because there’s not anything functionally different with Antec’s Veris enclosure than any of the many, many other enclosures we’ve tested. You slap a drive in, connect a USB or eSATA cord, and call it a day.
Just when we’d concluded that there was nothing new under the sun when it comes to digital music players, along comes the Slacker Portable Radio to smash all our preconceived notions. This $200 device takes the music-discovery innovations pioneered by Pandora and Last.fm and puts them in the palm of our hand.
If you can’t afford to upgrade your network to 802.11n Draft N 2.0, you might consider purchasing Trendnet’s Easy-N-Upgrader TEW-637AP. Instead of throwing your existing router in the trash, plug it into the Easy-N-Upgrader access point to gain many of the benefits of a Draft N router for about half the price.
We sometimes get so caught up in the excitement of the “next big thing” we throw the baby out with the bathwater. Based on the performance of the Wi-Fire Wi-Fi adapter, that might just be the case with IEEE 802.11g wireless routers.