Ok, so technically a Dilophosaurus hocked the venom loogie all over Nedry's face. But in marketplace of consumer hard drives, there is no question that Western Digital's Velociraptor is the beast to be feared. The new 300GB, 10,000-RPM device comes as a much-needed bolster to Western Digital's high-performance storage line. After all, it's been two years since the launch of the 150GB Raptor X, and other drive manufacturers have been quick to take note.
Vudu delivers more HD content than any other service, but achieving that image quality requires you to purchase a $300 box that can’t be truly integrated into the rest of your home network (meaning you can’t stream the content downloaded to it from one room to another). And the company currently has HD licensing deals with only Lionsgate, Paramount, and Universal; the rest of its offerings are limited to standard definition.
Vongo’s subscription business model puts it in a category all its own:
The service’s primary focus is to provide an all-you-can-eat
smorgasbord of movies and other video content that can be downloaded to
your PC for a $10 monthly fee. It doesn’t offer any for-purchase
content, and its TV offerings are nearly nonexistent.
If you’re like us, you’ve bought a lot of traditional media, be it
DVDs, CDs, or—gasp!—books, from Amazon.com over the years yet have
downloaded little or no content from its digital stores. After spending
some time with Unbox—Amazon’s relatively new movie and TV download
service—we’re about ready to start using it regularly. With a broad
selection of inexpensive content and an easy and cheap way to get Unbox
content to your living room, we initially thought this would be the
service to beat—despite a complete lack of HD content.
Dell’s jumbo entry in its Ultrasharp line of monitors, the 3008WFP, performs exactly as the company’s marketing materials promise. This monitor truly “produces darker blacks.” In fact, we think Dell’s underselling the device, because the 3008WFP takes the dark spectrum and covers it with the digital equivalent of a dark sheet. We cranked the device to its maximum brightness and still found ourselves unable to see distinctions at the low end of Display Mate’s grayscales.
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.