REVIEW: LG 42LH5000 – 200Hz 42-inch LCD TV


Over the last month or so, I’ve had the pleasure of having LG’s 42LH5000 television in my living room. There’s plenty to like about this, LG’s first 200Hz LCD, so read on for the full review.

First of all, let’s talk styling. The 42LH5000 will fit comfortably in pretty much any living room, unless it’s bright pink with “Hello Kitty” curtains. A transparent plastic ‘halo’ around the screen suits it nicely, with only a slight dip that indicates where the power button is to spoil the lines.

Although you can tilt it 20 degrees or so left and right, you can’t tilt it up or down. Happily, I didn’t have any issues with viewing angle, so that wasn’t an issue, but if you’re planning to mount it high or low, it might be worth some consideration.

A sensor on the front will adjust the brightness of the display to match ambient light, which works well. I only had one issue with the feature, on a stormy day when the television kept adjusting up and down, having difficulty working out the strange light of just before a thunderstorm.

The UI, luckily, allows you to turn this feature off if you want to. It’s a good UI too – clearly laid out and sensible. You can generally find what you’re looking for without having to resort to the manual.

The TV is also packed with environmentally friendly features. The fact that it consumes 210W typically while running isn’t that great, but a physical on-off switch, easily dimmable display, and even the ability to turn the display off entirely if you’re just listening to the radio, are all very welcome.


The built-in freeview tuner looks exactly how you’d expect it to – fine for soaps or documentaries, but a little lackluster for news, sports, action movies or anything else with fast-paced action going on. Plug in an HD source, however, and all that changes.

In HD, the picture is bright, clear and vibrant, even before applying any scene-specific image processing. The contrast is perfectly acceptable for most applications, but more muted scenes suffered a little from a lack of definition. There wasn’t quite enough detail in the shadow for my liking.

Beware if you’re wanting to plug in a Wii or a similar 480p source. The upscaling that the TV has to do to get it to fit the screen means that there’s horrible lag between your input and the image. It’s most noticible in rhythm games like Guitar Hero (which thankfully lets you compensate in the game’s settings), but this TV is very poor – even in game mode – at rendering the Wii’s signal on the larger resolution display.

I also encountered a little bit of picture corruption from time to time when turning it on. Vertical lines would appear, on all input sources, maybe one in 10 times that we powered up. They disappeared within sixty seconds, but it was still a little unnerving.

One of the 42LH5000’s best features is its USB port. You can plug in a portable hard drive or flash memory stick and watch any music, video or photo content that resides upon it, with minimal worries about codec support. I only encountered one video that wouldn’t play, and a quick bit of conversion on my PC sorted that out.

The sound is acceptable. Punchy stereo speakers give more than enough volume, though there isn’t an audio-out, so you’ll need to use the headphone socket if you want to plug it into a stereo.


On the whole, though, some minor picture quibbles aren’t enough to stop me from recommending the 42LH5000 to an average buyer. If you’re plugging in an HD source, expect it to look fantastic, particularly with the 200Hz refresh rate. Beware if you’re a heavy Wii gamer, because the lag proved irritating, but the majority of buyers would be very happy with LG’s latest effort.

You can pick up the LG 42LH5000 for £899 from Currys or about £100 pounds cheaper from somewhere slightly shadier.

Wireless keyboards: gateway to your life?

Symantec big.JPG

Quick, go and grab your wireless keyboard and snap it in two, Chuck Norris stylee, using your knee. It’s a security threat and destroying it is your only chance of salvation.

Well, maybe I’m being a little bit dramatic but I’m leaving nothing to chance following Symantec’s announcement today that wireless keyboards could be susceptible to cyber badies.

It all follows the release of a software project named Keykeriki which was developed by The purpose of it was to help “every person verify the security level of their own keyboard transmissions, and/or demonstrate the sniffing attacks” and was intended “for educational purpose(s) only” according to their website.

The only problem is that the nasty criminals can use these keyboard sniffers to record what users are typing (cleverly, it has to be said) by analysing the electromagnetic signals produced by each keystroke.

Basically it means that, in theory, criminal masterminds could prey on you without having to install anything on your computer. Scary stuff, eh?

Symantec are saying that this could lead to encrypted signals being sent from wireless keyboards in the future. For now, they are urging wireless keyboard users to go back to using wired keyboards.

3 launch one month contract mobile broadband


3 have today announced a new one-month contract mobile broadband offering. The package offers 5GB of data allowance a month for £15.

They claim that it’s “Britain’s most flexible and affordable contract” and we’re not going to argue with them. I’ve had a little look around and it is bloomin’ good value compared to the other players in the market.

For the same price and contract terms, Vodafone will only give you 1GB and Orange and O2 will only allow 3GB.

If you’re using 3 mobile broadband on pay-as-you-go at the moment, you’ll simply need to pop a new, free sim card into your dongle. New customers will need to buy a new dongle – they sell the Huawei MF627, E156g and E1550 for £19.99.

The plan is called “Broadband 5GB 1 Month” – I hope they didn’t pay the marketing geniuses too much too come up with that one – and it’s available online here.

Mobile broadband is becoming ever more popular and this is certainly a good deal if you want to go down that path. Consider if you really need to though, many 3G phones will allow you to share your 3G connection with your laptop using apps like JoikuSpot. And the iPhone will now allow tethering – even if this might not be a cheap option at present.

RUMOUR: Samsung Omnia 2 leaked?

A video showing what could well be the new Omnia offering from Samsung, or the GT-I8000 to give it its technical title, has emerged in webland.

The details are a bit patchy, nothing has been confirmed officially as of yet, but hey, it’s different to the iPhone and varIety is the spice of life and all that.

Murmurs suggest a launch date of 15th June.

Probable spec is a 3.7-inch WVGA 800 x 480 touchscreen, possibly with an AMOLED panel, an 8.1-megapixel camera (take that, Apple) with dual LED flash and VGA video recording at 30fps.

It should have 3G, UMTS, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and miniUSB. It should also boast GPS and a microSD card slot.

There’s a bit of debate going on regarding the UI. The video suggests a new cubic style setup, still using Windows Mobile though.

It looks pretty decent and, on paper, the spec looks like it could be considered as a possible iPhone rival. But we all know it won’t really worry Jobs, Schiller and the gang.

(via Engadget)

The iPhone 3G S is here


It’s the news we’ve all been waiting for. And we all pretty much knew already. A new iPhone. The 3rd instalment…the iPhone 3GS.

The new iPhone is quicker – it will load messaging 2.1 times faster, a game such as Sim City is 2.4 times faster, viewing spreadsheets in Excel is 3.6 times faster and loading a webpage is 2.9 times faster. It also supports 7.2Mbps HSDPA.

The camera is better than before as well, only 3-megapixel but has autofocus with auto-macro, tap to focus, VGA with 30-frames-per-second, also with auto focus, auto white balance and auto exposure. Videos and photos can be easily sent by MMS, email or uploaded to YouTube and the like.

Another new feature is voice control. Instructions like “play songs by The Killers” and “play more songs like this” will give the impression you’ve gone bonkers to passers-by in the street, but they will also give your fingers a much needed rest.

Other less important features include a compass that will talk directly to Google Maps, VoiceOver – which reads what you touch on the screen and built in support for Nike+.

Battery life has been improved also – The previous model got six hours on Wi-Fi, seven playing video, 24 for audio, 10 on 2G talk and five on 3G talk. This new model gets nine on Wi-Fi, 10 on video, 30 for audio, 12 on 2G talk and five on 3G talk.

Their going to retail in the US at $199 for a 16GB model and $299 for a 32GB model. Black and white models once more. Out in the UK on 19th June. Ten days to wait then Apple fans.

Or, if you can’t wait until then, the current iPhone 3G (or the old one as it shall now be known) is going to be available from today for $99. We’ll let you know the UK prices as we get them.

(via Engadget)

Apple announces whole host of new MacBooks – 13", 15" & 17" too


With all the attention seemingly being put upon an impending announcement regarding new iPhone specs, one could be forgiven for overlooking any other announcements Apple might be making at today’s WWDC.

But Phil Schiller kicked off the show by announcing some major changes to the MacBook Pro range.

First up, is a new 15-inch MacBook Pro, complete with SD memory card slot. Schiller stated that the battery life should be up to seven hours and they would last for 1,000 charges – five years of life for a typical user.

Three versions of the 15-inch model were announced: $1699 for a 2.53GHz, 250GB version, $1999 for a 2.66GHz, 320GB version and $1699 for a 2.8GHz, 500GB one. All of these come with 4GB of DDR3 RAM.

Next up was a new 17-inch version. Seven hours of battery life, like the 15-inch and this one also includes an ExpressCard slot as well as the SD one. $2499 for the same spec as the top end 15-inch one.

13-inch models are also joining the MacBook Pro lineup. Two versions for this particular size – $1199 for a 2.26GHz, 160GB, with 2GB of DDR3 RAM and $1199 for a 2.53GHz, 250GB, again with 2GB of DDR3 RAM. Both also have the new SD card slot.

Finally, Schiller announced an update to the MacBook Air. Apparently the most environmentally friendly laptops they’ve ever made. Big price cuts this time – $1499 for a 1.86GHz, 120GB, with 2GB of DDR3 RAM and $1799 for a 2.13GHz, 128GB (SSD), also with 2GB of DDR3 RAM.

Phew, that’s a whole lot of laptops. We’ll give you the UK prices as soon as we get them.


13-inch MacBook – £799

Intel Core 2 Duo
2GB DDR2 Memory
160GB hard drive1
NVIDIA GeForce 9400M graphics
Standard keyboard
White polycarbonate shell

13-inch MacBook Pro – £899

2.26GHz Intel Core 2 Duo
2GB Memory
160GB hard drive
SD card slot
Built-in 7-hour battery
NVIDIA GeForce 9400M graphics

13-inch MacBook Pro – £1,149

2.53GHz Intel Core 2 Duo
4GB Memory
250GB hard drive1
SD card slot
Built-in 7-hour battery
NVIDIA GeForce 9400M graphics

15-inch MacBook Pro – £1,299

2.53GHz Intel Core 2 Duo
4GB Memory
250GB hard drive
SD card slot
Built-in 7-hour battery
NVIDIA GeForce 9400M graphics

15-inch MacBook Pro – £1,499

2.66GHz Intel Core 2 Duo
4GB Memory
320GB hard drive
SD card slot
Built-in 7-hour battery
NVIDIA GeForce 9400M + 9600M GT with 256MB

15-inch MacBook Pro – £1,699

2.8GHz Intel Core 2 Duo
Intel Core 2 Duo
4GB Memory
500GB hard drive
SD card slot
Built-in 7-hour battery
NVIDIA GeForce 9400M + 9600M GT with 256MB

17-inch MacBook Pro – £1,849

2.8GHz Intel Core 2 Duo
4GB Memory
500GB hard drive
ExpressCard/34 slot
Built-in 8-hour battery
NVIDIA GeForce 9400M + 9600M GT with 256MB

MacBook Air – £1,149

1.86GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor with 1066MHz frontside bus
2GB Memory
120GB SATA hard drive
NVIDIA GeForce 9400M graphics

MacBook Air – £1,349

Intel Core 2 Duo processor with 1066MHz frontside bus
2GB Memory
128GB solid-state drive
NVIDIA GeForce 9400M graphics

Apple Store UK

Hannspree release not-unusual looking netbook


Despite our predictions Hannspree’s first foray into the netbook market isn’t a feat of unique design, it’s simply another netbook to add to the ever increasing pile.

In fact, What Laptop claim that it is “effectively a rebranded MSI Wind”.

The imaginitavley named Hannsnote can be yours for £260. It boasts a 1.6GHz Atom processor, 1GB of memory and a 160GB HDD. It also has a 1.3-megapixel webcam, Bluetooth and, of course, 802.11n Wi-Fi.

There’s a three-in-one card reader built in as well as three USB ports. The six-cell lithium-ion battery will provide five hours of life according to its makers.

It’s available in both “glossy pearl black” and “glossy pearl white” which, sadly seem a bit boring compared to some of Hannspree’s previous conceptions.

I, for one, would like to have seen a netbook shaped like an elephant for example.

(via Register Hardware)

Wii to target "Halo-audience"


Not content with outselling both the Xbox 360 and the PS3, Nintendo America boss Reggie Fils-Aime has claimed that the Wii can, and will, begin to attract even more users including more hard-core gamers as well as people that don’t currently play video games at all.

The Wii has blossomed in the casual market, which didn’t really even exist before its launch, but Fils-Aime believes that it can also more than hold its own it terms of attractiveness to more regular gamers.

He believes that titles such as The Conduit and Dead Space Extraction will be enough to win over the “Halo-audience” and titles like Wii Fit Plus will be enough to convince non-gamers into becoming Wii owners.

Fils-Aime said: “We’re not going to be satisfied just picking up that existing gamer. We have to reach beyond and get that consumer who doesn’t game. That’s the only way we’ll be able to continue growing as a company and as an industry.”

With the huge success the Wii has enjoyed since its launch, it would be foolish to write-off Fils-Aime’s claims. The Wii has continued to shock and impress the gaming industry and it isn’t really that hard to envisage the console becoming even more popular.

4oD to relaunch with huge archive


Channel 4 has today announced plans for a relaunch of 4oD, its catch up service that was originally released in November 2006.

The new version, available from July, will allow users to watch their favourite Channel 4 programmes direct from, free of charge.

The current service allows users to watch programmes for up to 30 days after they are first broadcast. With the exclusion of US shows such as Ugly Betty and Desperate Housewives, users will no longer be restricted to the 30 day period.

In fact, full seasons of older shows such as Queer as Folk, Brass Eye and Father Ted will be available in their entirety. Users will have a massive selection of Channel 4 shows at their fingertips, without the need to purchase DVD box-sets. What’s more, the service will be fully compatible with Windows, Mac and Linux.

The move is sure to put pressure on the BBC’s iPlayer service which, despite proving massively popular, only has access to programming from the previous 7 days.

With rumours also persisting that Hulu are also planning a UK launch, it’s an exciting time for on-demand television.

(via Brand Republic)

Chinese surfers to experience even more censorship


From 1st July all computers sold in China must be pre-loaded with software that prevents access to certain websites, according to a report by The Wall Street Journal.

For a country that is already ranked as the most stringent of online censors according to the move indicates further control for the Chinese government and less freedom for its public.

The software’s main developer claims that its Green Dam-Youth Escort programme would protect young internet users from “harmful” material such as pornography. However, China has been guilty in the past of restricting access to much less harmful sites. Only last week sites including Twitter, Hotmail, Live, Flickr and YouTube were reportedly off-limits.

Charles Mok, chairman of the Hong Kong division of Internet Society also expressed concerns that the software may be used “to collect personal data or filter other web sites”.

The Chinese government state that the programme is aimed at “constructing a green, healthy, and harmonious Internet environment, and preventing harmful information on the Internet from influencing and poisoning young people.”

Critics, such as myself, argue however that the programme is aimed at further controlling young minds, preventing them from finding out about some of the many atrocities their government are responsible for.

Why else would they ban access to Amnesty International?