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mad-catz-tritton-kunnai-top.jpgThe Tritton Kunai PC and Mac gaming headset from Mad Catz begins shipping today, after a well-recieved first outing at E3 back in June.

An affordable stereo headset available in black, white and red glossy colours, it makes use of 40mm Neodymium speakers and an in-line remote for easy access to volume and chat controls.

mad-catz-tritton-kunai.jpg"Our TRITTON Kunai range proved popular at E3 thanks to its clean aesthetics and impressive audio," said Darren Richardson, the President and Chief Executive Officer of Mad Catz Interactive.

"We are confident that passionate PC and Mac gamers will appreciate the performance and value synonymous with the brand."

Priced at £49.99, it's a good value headset, providing you're not after pseudo-surround sound bells and whistles.

Pick it up here.

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Ballistix High Res.jpgCrucial has announced the immediate availability of the Crucial Ballistix Sport XT memory.

Designed for gamers and enthusiasts looking for fast and responsive performance, Ballistix Sport XT modules offer XMP profiles for advanced speeds and timings as well as easy BIOS configuration in supported systems.

"The Crucial Ballistix Sport series is designed to provide mainstream users and performance enthusiasts with a reliable, no-hassle gaming experience," says Jeremy Mortenson, senior product manager, Crucial.

"The new Sport XT memory offers an attractive new heat spreader styling for gamers who are looking for enhanced thermal performance, and a new colour that complements popular motherboards."

Available in 4GB and 8GB modules and up to 32GB quad channel kits (8GBx4), Sport XT memory offers DDR3 speeds up to 1866MHz. Crucial Ballistix Sport XT memory modules are available now at ebuyer, and dabs, or directly at www.crucial.com/uk.

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xbox-one-Kinect.jpgMicrosoft have confirmed that the Xbox One's new and improved Kinect sensor will be made available to Windows PC users.

Speaking to ShackNews, Kinect's program manager Scott Evans revealed that Microsoft "will bring [Kinect] to PC", stating that more details would be brought to light "soon".

The Windows PC community of hackers proved invaluable to the original Kinect - while gamers were jaded with the peripheral's lack of accuracy and poor software support, the PC community of Kinect owners found many memorable and potentially useful applications for the technology.

While no firm release date for Kinect 2.0 for PC has been given (unsurprising considering we are still waiting on a firm release date for the Xbox One console itself), if the release timing of the first model is anything to go by, expect to see the new sensor made available to PC users within its first year of release.

Now able to process as much as 2Gbits of data a second, the new Kinect's camera will also be able to recognise more advanced gestures and movements. Capturing 1080p video and recognising more advanced skeletal maps with more joints and articulation points, the sensor's voice recognition technology has been updated to allow for more conversational control commands to be stated.

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logitech-pc-gaming-line-up-2013-top.jpgLogitech have lifted the covers on a wide range of new PC peripherals aimed at the hardcore gaming crowd.

Expanding the company's G range of products, there are gaming mice, keyboards and headsets to suit all wallet sizes and pro-gaming needs.

Looking firstly at the mice, there's four new models on offer. Top of the range is the £60 wireless G700, offering a dual-mode scroll wheel and rechargeable battery pack.Next up are the G400 and G500 wired mice, costing £59.99 and £49.99 respectively, both aimed at FPS fans and the former again featuring a dual-mode scroll wheel. Lastly is the wired G100, costing £34.99 and aimed at RTS and MOBA players.Two keyboards next. The G19 gaming keyboard costs £179.99 and features an "GamePanel" screen providing key gaming stats and setting options, with the keyboard also featuring custom backlighting and anti-ghosting keys.

Next is the G510, again with GamePanel and customisable backlighting, costing £99.99. Both feature macro options.

Lastly the G230 Stereo Gaming headset, with 4mm neodymium drivers. It'll set you back £54.99.

For more on the new range, click here.

wacom-cintiq-13hd-top.jpgWacom has today revealed its latest display device aimed at artists and designers, the Cintiq 13HD pen display.

A 13-inch display running at a 1080p resolution, it's a pen-controlled screen designed to let creatives sketch, draw and colour digital images with an unparalleled amount of accuracy.

Boasting 16.7 million colours and a 178 degree viewing angle, it comes complete with the battery-free Pro Pen, which makes drawing on the display feel natural thanks to 2,048 levels of pressure and tilt sensitivity.

Both the pen and display can be stored in a bespoke case that ships with the Cintiq 13HD, allowing the display to be stood at 22, 35 and 50 degree angles, offering a flexible drawing experience to suit every artist's needs.

"We've gained valuable customer feedback in developing our latest Cintiq which will support professionals and help them spur creativity on the 13-inch high resolution screen," said Guido Möller, product manager creative products, at Wacom Europe.

"Not only that, it also enhances productivity and saves creator time with new features. As with our entire Cintiq range, the new Cintiq 13HD provides a completely immersive and ergonomic pen-on-screen experience that adapts seamlessly to all working environments and practices."

The Wacom Cintiq 13HD will go on sale from April 2013 and will set you back £749.

razer-orbweaver-side.jpgRazer, quickly becoming the premier manufacturers of madcap PC gaming peripherals, have revealed a new gadget designed to up your game. The Razer Orbweaver is a one-handed keypad, aimed primarily at macro-obsessed MMORPG players.

The Orbweaver is a mechanical keypad that comes complete with 20 programmable keys, each supporting eight different macros which can be swapped between using a thumb pad. That adds up to a potential 160 macro commands, each accepting an infinite number of key press steps. Each key requires just 50 grams of force to trigger, making for speedy spell casting or ability use.

The whole unit (comprising thumb, palm and wrist rest modules) can be adjusted to your comfort, with all keys backlit for improved night-time gaming. The thumb pad too can be used as an eight-way movement controller in-game, which could be useful for beat-em up fans - just imagine assigning macros for all the biggest moves in Street Fighter, while controlling your brawler with the thumb pad?

"The Razer Orbweaver is the ultimate gauntlet of game control," said Min-Liang Tan, Razer co-founder, CEO and creative director.

"The feeling of having every command at hand to destroy the competition in so many different ways is just sublime, and the tactile feedback and fast key actuation from the mechanical key architecture gives you a feeling of satisfaction and an added edge in the games you play."

Due out before the Spring, the Razer Orbweaver will set you back $129.99, or roughly £81. Click here for more info.

Full specs are as follows:

Full mechanical keys with 50g actuation force
20 fully programmable keys
Adjustable thumb, palm and wrist rest modules for maximum comfort
Programmable eight-way directional thumb-pad
Razer Synapse 2.0-enabled
Instantaneous switching between eight key maps
Unlimited macro lengths
Stores unlimited gaming profiles
Backlit keypad for total control even in dark conditions
Width: 154 mm / 6.06 in.
Length: 214 mm / 7.95 in.
Depth: 55 mm / 2.17 in.
Weight: 300 g / 0.661 lbs.

logitech-bluetooth-easy-switch-keyboard.jpgHot on the heels of their Windows 8 range, Logitech throw a pair of new Mac accessories out into the wilds of the pre-Christmas shopping period. Both Mac-focussed takes on ideas already seen in their Windows 8 range, Logitech are today introducing the Bluetooth Easy-Switch Keyboard for Mac and iPad, as well as the Rechargeable Trackpad for Mac.

Taking a look first at the keyboard, it's a full size backlit affair, offering Bluetooth pairing with up to three other Bluetooth enabled devices, such as an iPad or iPhone. These can be quickly flicked between with the push of a dedicated Bluetooth button, while the backlit keys are illuminated only when your hands approach their sensors, or when the sensors read low light in your environment.
logitech-rechargeable-trackpad-for-mac.jpgThe wireless trackpad apes Apple's own Magic Trackpad, offering full support for all of OS X's multi-finger gestures. A glass trackpad, if it's responsive to the touch it may even better Apple's design by offering USB recharging, whereas the Magic Trackpad relies on AA batteries.

Expect to pay £89.99 for the keyboard and £59.99 when they launch on the Logitech store in January next year.

logitech-windows-8-touch-mice.jpgWith the touch-friendly Windows 8 OS launch just weeks away, hardware manufacturers are now ramping up production of tie-in peripherals. Logitech are the latest gang to do so, today revealing a pair of mice and a touchpad built specifically with Microsoft's new operating system in mind.

Lets take a look at the mice first. The premium pointer is the Logitech Touch Mouse T620 (above, left), which features touch-sensitive page scrolling and gesture controls alongside the regular clicky-slidey mouse features. A wireless mouse, it's good for six months of use per charge of its rechargeable battery pack.

Lower down the price list is the Logitech Zone Touch Mouse T400 (above, right). It's offering a similar experience to the T620, though looks more like a conventional mouse than the curvy T620. With its rubberised grips, Start screen shortcut button and 18-month battery life per charge, it may well be the more functional of the two.logitech-windows-8-touchpad.jpgPerhaps the glitziest addition to the range is the Logitech Rechargeable Touchpad T650, which looks basically like Apple's Magic Trackpad, but for Windows machines.

Like a laptop trackpad, you slide your fingers around it to move the onscreen pointer, with the pad also accepting gesture controls like pinch-to-zoom and three-finger swipe shortcuts to bring up the Start screen. You'll get one month's worth of juice out of the TouchPad T650 before it'll need a battery top up over a USB charge.

Pricing sits at £69.99 for the TouchPad T650 and £59.99 for the T620 mouse. At £39.99, the T400 seems a relative steal.

wedge_range_stand-580-75.jpgWindows 8 just got its first batch of dedicated hardware accessories from Microsoft.

The Wedge Touch Mouse, Wedge Mobile Keyboard, Sculpt Touch Mouse and Sculpt Mobile Keyboard have all been built alongside Microsoft's forthcoming operating system, and will help users get the most out of Windows 8.
MS_wedgemouse-580-90.jpgThey're all pretty stylish too, particularly the Wedge range. The Wedge Touch Mouse is "small enough to fit in your pocket" and is designed with portability in mind. With Microsoft's BlueTrack tech onboard, it offers four-way scrolling and Bluetooth connectivity. It'll land for $69.95, while we're still waiting for UK pricing.

The Wedge Mobile Keyboard is designed with Windows 8 tablets in mind, again hooking up wirelessly over Bluetooth. It comes with a durable cover that doubles up as a tablet stand and "brings full-size keyboard comfort, efficiency and speed to a tablet." It'll set you back $79.95. wedge_stand-580-90.jpgThe Sculpt range is a little cheaper, with curved rather than angular designs, landing at around the $50 mark.

"Our new mice and keyboards really light up Windows, providing fast and fluid navigation, increased productivity, and enhanced mobility packaged in sleek, stylish designs," said Brett Kelleran, general manager, Microsoft Hardware.

"Microsoft Hardware is designed by Microsoft, optimised for Windows."

razer-ouroboros.jpgRazer have just revealed a new gaming mouse that can be fully customised to fit each individual gamers hands.

Set to rival the similarly customisable Cyborg R.A.T line, the Ouroboros is designed in such a way as to be perfect for both right handed gamers and lefties.

Interchangeable panels can be popped onto the mouse to cater for claw, palm or hybrid grip styles, with a moveable palm rest that can be extended by up to 0.9 inches.

razer-ouroboros-mid.jpgThe mouse also has a tilt back angle for better wrist support over conventional mice, with pi sensitivity that goes up to 8200, with a dpi trigger letting you flip between two sensitivity settings on the fly at the push of a button.

Wired or wireless, Razer's 1ms wireless technology should ensure there's no lag when not cabled up, while a seven foot cable is included if that suits your set up better.

Landing in Q4 of this year, the Razer Ouroboros will cost $129.99.

packshot-dlan-500-avmini-uk-sk-packshot.jpgreview-line.JPGName: Devolo dLAN 500 AVmini - Starter Kit

Type: Powerline networking homeplug kit

Specs: Click here for full specs

Price: £99.99 from Amazon

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Devolo's dLAN 500 AVmini powerline networking starter kit boats superfast, reliable internet speeds over your electrical wiring, effectively knocking out wireless blackspots. However, stability and speed come with a fairly high asking price attached. Does Devolo's latest kit perform well enough to justify the cost? Read on to find out!

review-line.JPGFor all the convenience a wireless internet connection brings, in many cases they also come with a fair helping of frustration too. Whether it's a signal blackspot or significantly reduced speeds, getting the most out of your internet connection over Wi-Fi can be a struggle. Where once the only alternative was to feed unsightly Ethernet cabling around your house to combat the problem, powerline networking kits, like the Devolo dLAN 500 AVmini starter kit reviewed here, are a far more elegant solution.

The powerline kit works by plugging a homeplug adaptor into a wall power socket near your internet router, and linking the two together over an Ethernet cable. A second homeplug adaptor is plugged into the wall near where you want to be able to pick up a stronger internet connection, delivered to your device of choice over a second Ethernet cable. The internet connection is then sent down the electrical wiring of your house, bridging the gap between the router and your internet-accessing device, offering speeds near-identical to those that you'd get from a connection directly wired to your router. Extra cabling is kept to an absolute minimum, while you're left to enjoy a stable, speedy internet connection.

The Devolo dLAN 500 AVmini starter kit is one the best powerline networking solutions we've so far seen. For starters, it supports incredible connection speeds of up to 500Mbps, and while there are few (if any) households in the UK that can boast such broadband speeds, all will enjoy significant improvements when compared to a Wi-Fi connection. On our test home broadband connection (which averages out at around the 19Mbps mark when connected directly to our router) we never saw speeds drop below 18Mbps with the Devolo kit, an improvement of as much as 25% over the speed of our best Wi-Fi connection. Faster connections will easily be able to serve multiple HDTV streams and even 3D movies with the kit.

It's a shame that the 500 AVmini plugs experience a slight drop in performance when plugged into an 4-way extension plug bar. For the best performance, you're going to want to plug the gear directly into a wall socket if possible. Thankfully, the slim build of the homeplugs compared to rival offerings mean that they should be able to slip discretely into some relatively tight spaces regardless.
image-picture-dlan-500-avmini-eu-sk-livingroom.jpgSet up is incredibly simple too. Though a software installation CD comes included with the set's two homeplugs (as well as two short Ethernet cables), it really is a "plug-in-and-play" product, meaning connecting all the wires up to a PC, smart TV or games console and your router at the other end is all that's needed to get things up and running. If you do opt to install the included software CD, you'll be able to configure the homeplugs to prioritize certain types of traffic, such as VoIP or video streaming, handy if more than one person is using the network at once. It's worth mentioning that if you already own older Devolo 200 AV adapters they'll work alongside this newer kit without a hiccup too.

Setting up security features is just as simple. "Push button security" enables 128-bit AES hardware encryption, making it incredibly easy to protect the information travelling around your network.

Lastly, power consumption is also incredibly low. Keeping in mind that it's likely you'll rarely unplug the adaptors or switch them off, the fact that they draw just 0.5 watts when in standby mode will be a welcome one when it comes time to face your electricity bill.

If there's one issue to be had with the Devolo dLAN 500 AVmini starter kit, it's the price. While the slim design and high potential connection speeds are a bonus, there are cheaper options that will deliver performance that will be more than suitable for the average user. Only those really keeping a close eye on the minute fluctuations of the fastest broadband speeds will see every benefit on offer here.

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We're big advocates of powerline networking at Tech Digest, and this latest offering from Devolo is among the best we've tried. With a low footprint in terms of both physical size and power consumption, paired with the stability and speed of internet connection that the dLAN 500 AVmini plugs offer, we cant recommend them highly enough.

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5/5
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my-book-essential.jpgName: Western Digital My Book Essential 3TB

Type: 3TB USB 3.0 External Hard Drive (PC/Mac)

Specifications: Click here for full specs

Price: £168.75 from Amazon seller

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If you're looking to do some super-quick, super-painless PC spring cleaning, you'll want to grab an external hard drive with USB 3.0 transfer speeds. Western Digital's My Book Essential range offers as much as a massive 3TB of external storage, and transfer speeds three times as fast as USB 2.0 thanks to their USB 3.0 connectivity options. We took a 3TB model for a spin. Read on for our thoughts!

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As far as external hard drives go, the My Book Essential looks pretty snazzy, with its gloss black plastic casing and curved front. Three edges house discrete venting, with the front curved edge a white LED light that stays on constantly when the drive is in use, and blinks when in standby, which it tends to do quite a lot as the onboard software powers down the drive after a few minutes of inactivity. In a neat touch, the drive powers completely down automatically when your PC shuts down, and fires back up when the computer is switched on. When it comes to power management then, the drive is particularly savvy.

Though it shouldn't be treated as a portable drive, the My Book Essential is surprisingly small given its 3TB storage space inside. It measures just 165mm x 135mm x 48mm, and weighs only 1.18kg. It's also quiet as a mouse, barely audible when reading from or writing to its disk. Though rubber feet on the underside edge suggest the drive should be used in an upright position, we've had it running laid horizontally flat with no problems.

Though the drive is listed as a 3 terrabyte, as with all drives the actual usable space onboard is significantly smaller. You've in fact got 2794GB of space to play about with. This is by no means a fault of the drive (all hard drives have this quirk), but is worth mentioning if you're after specifically 3TB of external storage.

Things were going well until we started to install the latest drivers for the My Book Essential. While the onboard drivers worked fine, upgrading to firmware version 3.1.0.11 caused our system to go haywire, with the My Book Essential randomly connecting and disconnecting, our failing to appear at all when connected to our PC. It took a system restore to the initial driver settings before things calmed down again.

Using the USB 3.0 connection (the drive is also USB 2.0 compatible), we were very impressed with the My Book Essential's transfer speeds. See the chart below for our findings using CystalDiskMark:
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As you can see, 5 passes at 1000MB saw average read speeds of 125.2MB/s and average write speeds of 92.61Mb/s, revealing solid transfer rates. In real world usage, we found it took just 49.4 seconds to transfer a 2.94GB ISO image file, with an average transfer rate of around 59.5 Mb/s. Not quite as good as the CystalDiskMark findings, but still impressive. Likewise, smaller file sizes transferred speedily at around the 70Mb/s mark, but wrote more slowly at closer to 30.5 Mb/s. It's still up with the best transfer speeds with experienced from USB 3.0, nonetheless, with each result averaging almost 3x as fast as when performed with a USB 2.0 connection.

The My Book Essential also ships with an impressive back-up software suite called SmartWare, pre-loaded onto the drive. Once a simple configuration process has been carried out, it works quietly in the background backing up your whole computer (or just files and folders of your choosing), keeping an eye out for changes and backing up accordingly. It's incredibly easy to use, and automates all of the tedious work that protecting your files can present.

Likewise, the security offerings onboard are equally impressive, with the ability to apply encrypted passwords and support for Kensington physical security locks.

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Verdict:

A one-stop solution for your back-up needs, the My Book Essential offers speed, space, security and reliability. Were it not for the driver debacle we'd give this external drive a perfect score, but regardless it still comes very highly recommended. review-line.JPG

4/5

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Kodak-hero-9-1-top.jpgKodak have announced that they are to stop manufacturing cameras digital cameras, pocket video cameras and digital picture frames in the first half of this year in order to cut costs following their bankruptcy protection filing.

Despite inventing the digital camera, Kodak have been forced into the move after noting that it will save them somewhere in the region of $100 million dollars. On top of their long list of patent sales, it's hoped the move will save the iconic brand.

"Today we announced that Kodak is phasing out digital cams [sic], video cams & digital frames in 2012," read updates from the Kodak UK Twitter feed.

"Kodak will continue to honour all warranties and provide support as we phase out dig & vid cams and frames.

"Kodak will focus consumer biz [sic] on inkjet, online and retail printing."

Kodak's new focus will be on their printer business. We had a look at their Hero 9.1 All-in-one (pictured above) at the back end of last year and came away impressed.

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3D: the Marmite of the technology world. It's very much a love/hate affair many of us share with 3D displays, but there's at least one thing we can all agree on; the sooner we ditch the glasses, the better.

Those with a very specific sized laptop display (15.6 inches, to be exact), got a reasonably affordable way of upgrading their machines to offer glasses-free 3D visuals today.

A company called Spatial View have revealed the 3DeeScreen peripheral, a magnetized mounting frame that clips over the top of your existing laptop screen to turn in into a makeshift lenticular display, using a series of tiny mirrors to give the impression of depth to what you're viewing. It's pretty much the same principle employed in Nintendo's 3DS handheld.

"Our goal is to provide a superior 3D viewing experience and enable existing laptops with 3D functionality at a reasonable price," said Spatial View general manager Ihor Petelycky.

Priced at $129, Spatial View ship to the UK too, should your laptop be one of the few that fits with the add-on.

Via: Slashgear

REVIEW: Otone Audio Stilo 2.1 PC speakers

1 Comment

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Name: Otone Audio Stilo

Type: 2.1 Desktop Speaker

Specifications: Click here for full specs

Price: £69.99 from Otone Audio

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Otone Audio are the latest UK-based company to throw their hats into the home audio ring. As well as a range of 5.1 systems, they're also launching a range of desktop PC speaker set ups. Today we're taking a look at their Stilo 2.1 PC speakers. Read on for our thoughts.

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Comprising two satellite speakers, a subwoofer and wired remote, the Stilo speakers are a bit of a missed opportunity when it comes to design. While the cube-shaped subwoofer is simple enough to be easy on the eye (measuring 220 x 211 x 230mm and making up a substantial portion of the package's overall  3.65kg weight), the satellite speakers, measuring  253 x 65 x 106mm , look needlessly cheap. They're a desktop friendly size, and we quite like the the cut-oval shape. However, the decision to make them from a mix of gloss black plastic and a matte silver/grey is a bit of a mess. Perhaps they'll suit the tastes of others, but we'd have preferred just the gloss black, thank you very much.

The pebble-shaped wired remote, which plugs into the back of the powered subwoofer, is a little tidier, with the mix of blacks, silvers and a green LED (indicating the speakers are on) reminiscent of the Android smartphone colour scheme. A dial controls the volume levels, clicking from a low volume setting to off at the counter-clockwise extreme. There's a little bit of a sharp spike in volume level when dialling past the halfway mark though. On the back is a handy pair of ports for auxiliary line in (letting you plug an MP3 player directly into the speakers and bypassing a PC) and a headphone port too, with a standard 3.5mm jack.
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There are few other audio connectivity options on the subwoofer though beyond the 3.5mm line-in jack, so if you're looking for a more complicated set up with a high-end sound card, these probably aren't the speakers for you.

For everyone else though, they'll perform very nicely. Using a space-age sounding patented Vortex Drive system, they'll pump out 40W (2 x 10 + 20W) of power, easily reaching room-filling levels. 2 x 2" high-sensitivity twin drivers sit in the satellite speakers, and while a little lacking at the treble end, were otherwise warm and clear. We did experience a little rattling in the subwoofer cabinet at maximum volume levels and with the subwoofer itself turned to its maximum bass setting, but we're fairly sure that was down to a slightly loose fixture in our individual sample, and nothing that should worry any prospective buyers.
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Verdict:

The Otone Audio Stilo 2.1 desktop speakers sound, for the most part, great, especially for the £69.99 asking price. You may need to scale the mid-levels back a little in your EQ settings, but our love of the odd spiky guitar shred and rattle of gunfire from Call of Duty wont likely line up with everyone's tastes. They're solid sonic performers either way. It's a shame then that the satellite speakers themselves looks so underwhelming. Sat on a retailer's shelf next to the sci-fi stylings of Harman Kardon's Soundsticks, it's unlikely the Otone Audio Stilo set will get a second look, which does the audio quality they're capable of something of a disservice.review-line.JPG

3/5

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Right on cue, Microsoft have announced the availability of the Kinect for Windows hardware and Software Development Kit, hitting the February 1st release date that Microsoft boss Steve Ballmer promised at CES.

Built for developers as "a fully-tested and supported Kinect experience on Windows", it shares the same look as the regular Xbox 360 version, but has a few key differences.

Most notably, it comes with a "commercial ready installer that makes it easy to install Kinect for Windows runtime and driver components for end-user deployments", but also offers better speech and audio capabilities thanks to the inclusion of the latest Microsoft speech components, as well as improved skeletal tracking and the ability to work within a Macro mode of just 40cm away from the sensor.

"It's been just over a year since we launched Kinect for Xbox 360, and we're only starting to scratch the surface of what's possible with Kinect," said Craig Eisler, general manager for Kinect for Windows.

"By offering hardware and software that's designed specifically for Windows applications, we hope to inspire visionaries around the world to create transformative breakthroughs with Kinect - taking its gesture and voice capabilities beyond the living room into other industries such as education, manufacturing, healthcare, and retail."

Launching intially Stateside for $249, it'll hit Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Ireland, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, Spain, and the United Kingdom in the near future.

Easyshare wireless M750_Red.jpgAfter a gruelling period of decline, Kodak last week were forced to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, leading many to wonder about the future of the company and, in many cases, just what was going to happen to the much-needed consumable products that Kodak's gear needed, such as printer cartridges.

"After considering the advantages of chapter 11 at this time, the Board of Directors and the entire senior management team unanimously believe that this is a necessary step and the right thing to do for the future of Kodak," Antonio M. Perez, Kodak chairman and CEO stated.

"Our goal is to maximise value for stakeholders, including our employees, retirees, creditors, and pension trustees. We are also committed to working with our valued customers."

That customer commitment has been backed up today by a statement from the Kodak UK team, who confirmed to Tech Digest that it was very much "business as usual" for the British arm of the veteran camera makers:

"The Kodak UK team is still very much in business and we are going full steam ahead with our planned activity," said the Kodak spokesperson, who also settled loyal Kodak customers' fears by explicitly stating there would be no changes made to the distribution of consumables in the wake of last week's news.

Kodak also took the opportunity to reveal UK launch details of their CES 2011 star compact camera, the EASYSHARE Wireless Camera M750.

Offering 16 MP stills, a 5X optical zoom, HD video recording and 3 inch touchscreen, it lets users send photos straight to Facebook, email or tablet devices over Wi-Fi, pairing up with the KODAK EASYSHARE Camera App on Android, iOS and blackBerry devices.

"The launch of the EASYSHARE Wireless Camera M750 marks the perfect union of the smartphone and digital camera," said Phil Scott, Vice President of Digital Capture and Accessories.

"The two technologies are now married to bring consumers the best experience from capture to share. Socially savvy users no longer have to compromise on image quality, now we can take great pictures and share instantly."

Available in silver and red for £129.95, it'll be hitting all major photography retailers in the Spring.

Thumbnail image for kodak-easyshare-z5010.jpgCamera and printer manufacturers Kodak have filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, ending months of speculation of to the fate of the 131 year old company.

The company will go through a dramatic period of reorganisation, entering a protected period and taking $950 million worth of credit to settle their sinking ship.

"Kodak is taking a significant step toward enabling our enterprise to complete its transformation," said Antonio M. Perez, chairman and CEO.

"At the same time as we have created our digital business, we have also already effectively exited certain traditional operations, closing 13 manufacturing plants and 130 processing labs, and reducing our workforce by 47,000 since 2003. Now we must complete the transformation by further addressing our cost structure and effectively monetising non-core IP assets. We look forward to working with our stakeholders to emerge a lean, world-class, digital imaging and materials science company.

"After considering the advantages of chapter 11 at this time, the Board of Directors and the entire senior management team unanimously believe that this is a necessary step and the right thing to do for the future of Kodak," Mr. Perez continued.

"Our goal is to maximise value for stakeholders, including our employees, retirees, creditors, and pension trustees. We are also committed to working with our valued customers."

A glimmer of hope lies in Kodak's sizeable patent catalogue, the sale of which has already generated $3 billion for the company since 2003.

Via: Investor.kodak.com

Kodak-hero-9-1-top.jpgName: Kodak Hero 9.1

Type: All-in-One printer/scanner/copier

Specs: Click here for full specs

Price: £199.99

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The Kodak Hero 9.1 throws into the mix pretty much every high-end feature you can think of for a consumer all-in-one printer. Can its print speed and quality live up to the allure of its silky 4.3 inch touchscreen and cloud-printing capabilities? Read on to find out.

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If you're flushed with cash, the £199.99 Kodak Hero 9.1 is the premium offering from the company's all-in-one printer range. With a 4.3 inch touchscreen, Wi-Fi and internet connectivity, duplex printing and cloud printing, it ticks every box when it comes to high-end printer features.

It looks very stylish too. In keeping with the rest of the Hero range's boxy look, the rectangular Hero 9.1 features a mix of gloss and black plastics, as well as brushed metal effects either side of the print tray and a red trim just under the scanner lid. Two paper trays feature, one each for 100 regular A4 sheets and another solely for 40 pieces of photo paper. It's a relief not to have to swap paper load outs, and the powered photo tray also conveniently removes the need to manually push sheets. We'd like to see dual-trays hit consumer printers as standard. A printer is unlikely to win any style awards, but Kodak have made a strong effort here to make the Hero 9.1 look tidy and sleek.

Only one physical button (the power one) sits on the Hero 9.1's control panel. The rest, including home, back, help and preview keys, are touch sensitive, illuminating when they can be used to navigate a corresponding function on the gorgeous 4.3 inch touchscreen. A touchscreen this big makes a massively good impression; it not only allows a full QWERTY keyboard to be displayed, making the Wi-Fi set up really simple, but also gives you a far more legible look at any snaps you plan to print off too using the Hero 9.1's front-mounted USB and memory card ports.

Kodak-hero-9-1-b.jpgSetting up the printer is as simple as it gets. After removing a series of protective tags, inserting the print head and clicking in the two ink cartridges, it's just a matter of switching it on, installing the relevant drivers to your computer, and choosing whether to connect using a standard USB cable, or over Wi-Fi or Ethernet.

If you choose to go down the web-connected route, you also open up the ability to use Kodak's cloud printing service, that lets you send documents to be printed to the unit no matter where you are in the world. The Hero 9.1 is compatible with Google's Cloud Printing service, further expanding your on-the-go print options and effectively doing away with the need to ever have it permanently tethered to your desktop machine.

Though not class leading, the Kodak Hero's 9.1 print speed and quality remains solid. A 10-sheet set of single sided black-and-white text documents printed in two minutes and one second, while a twenty page set of single sided documents sped up noticeably, taking three minutes and 47 seconds. Duplex printing, as you'd expect, was noticeably slower, adding a good third onto the time to print the same documents on a single side. Duplex printing on the whole had some quirks, with the printer automatically reducing the print size by a noticeable margin. Be sure to extend your page margins manually before printing duplex pages as a result, or you'll end up with considerable space around the edges of your prints. In all tests however, text was crisp and sharp.

Kodak-hero-9-1-c.jpgColour prints were considerably slower, but we were surprised at the snappy speed of photo prints. In just 45 seconds we had a 4 x 6 inch holiday snap sitting in our hands, ready to be tucked inside an album. Colour print quality was mostly great, delivering really vibrant, rich colours that shone on photo paper. There were a few isolated cases of banding (and dotting for those anally examining their photos with a magnifying glass), but overall it was an impressive show from the Hero 9.1.

The Hero 9.1 is fairly cost effective too, working out at roughly 2.25p per black and white sheet and 3.8p for colour prints, including paper costs. However, when it comes to colour prints you could argue that that figure could erratically jump. The Kodak Hero 9.1 uses a single cartridge for all of its colour pools. Should one run out quicker than the rest, you're going to have to swap out all the colours and abandon any reserves they may have left.

Lastly, printing and scanning. The scanner lid has an automatic document feeder, letting you scan multiple sheets in one go without having to replace each one manually. There's also a small hinge on the scanner lid, letting you more comfortable accommodate a book or magazine for scanning purposes. The 9.1 only manages single-side scanning however. Still, the scanner has a solid 2400dpi optical resolution, delivering accurate colour and detail levels. Copying capabilities are just as impressive, delivering a black and white sheet with great accuracy in just 17 seconds.

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Verdict:

It's not the cheapest all-in-one on the market, nor the fastest, but the Kodak Hero 9.1 does deliver solid print and scanning results, as well as offering a premium feature set that you'll be hard pressed to comprehensively find elsewhere. The single cartridge for all colours however is a disappointment; while it may ease the set-up process, it does mean you wont be able to eke the very last drops out of of each colour pool should one run dry.

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4/5
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Nvidia have announced the release of their Nvidia 3D Vision 2 kit, updating their 3D-for-PC hardware to allow for more comfortable glasses and boosting brightness levels for a more vibrant gaming experience.

The active shutter glasses, paired with an IR emitter that works alongside compatible Nvidia graphics cards, now feature 20% larger lenses that feature the new LightBoost technology. While the size offers a larger viewing area than before, LightBoost boasts 2x brighter 3D images than previous 3D solutions, and also improves colour reproduction.

Environmental is also more prominent with the new glasses, meaning you wont have to strain to read your keyboard keys.

"Gorgeous, bright, crystal-clear 3D worlds are created by Nvidia's 3D Vision 2 glasses with 3D LightBoost monitors and notebooks," said Phil Eisler, general manager of 3D Vision at Nvidia.

"Nvidia's engineering team has made incredible enhancements in 3D on PCs, creating a breathtaking gaming experience that's better than the best Hollywood 3D movie."

So far only the Asus VG278H 27-inch (1920x1080) monitor works with LightBoost, though Acer and BenQ models are coming soon, promise Nvidia.

Launching by the end of the month, the Nvidia 3D Vision 2 kit will be available from all major PC retailers for $149, as well as Nvidia's online store. Spare pairs of Nvidia 3D Vision 2 glasses, without the IR emitter, will be priced at $99.

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