OS X Leopard First Day Review

After having played around with Apple's latest operating system for the past twelve hours or so, here are my initial thoughts on Leopard (10.5). Bear in mind that I haven't tested everything extensively (some things I haven't set up at…

Messiah's Darklite PS3 DVD/Blu-ray remote

The Darklite remote is a very nice little thing for controlling your PS3 with, if you’ve fallen into Sony’s trap of using it to watch films rather than play games. It has the double excitement of backlit buttons that light up AND a glowing circle, which will mesmerise all who see it.

The receiver unit has to be plugged into PS3, though, which might ruin the lines of your super-minimalist futuristic lounge, but other than that it’s all very pretty.

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Shiny Review: Motorola Razr²

razr222.jpg It’s Susi’s designated day to review a piece of gadgetry for your tech-starved eyes, so read on below for her thoughts regarding Motorola’s newest phone, the Razr². Takes me back to maths class with dear Mr. Hampson, having that square root ‘2’. ARGHHH!!! Take it away, Susi…

I’ve already highlighted my disappointment at the name of the Razr², or the Razr 2 as it forever will be known. I shall not bore you again. Luckily, this is one of the only failings of this phone. Let’s start with the important stuff – how pretty it is…

Shiny Review: Intempo Digital BTS-01 Stereo Bluetooth Wireless Speaker

intempo_bts01_0108.jpg Intempo Digital has gained a reputation for producing solidly built, mid-priced gadgets that pack popular technology into a simple, user-friendly exterior. I can see anyone’s parents or technophobe friends being attracted by the smooth, almost retro simplicity of this Bluetooth speaker.

It’s not compact or ultra-exciting in its design, but it won’t look out of place in any living room, bedroom or kitchen. More importantly it’s easy to use and produces reasonable small-scale sound quality. We used it mainly with a Bluetooth-enabled mobile phone and found that once the phone had picked up the device it was a matter of something like four button presses to get the music going (and obviously that will depend on the device you’re streaming)…

Review: Creative Xmod

The propaganda

The Xmod is Creative’s first external sound card to implement X-Fi technology. X-Fi has been securing Creative’s leading position in the sound card market for a long time thanks to its excellent sound quality enhancing functions. The Xmod offers a similar feature set to full blown X-Fi cards, incorporating CMSS 3D and Crystalizer technologies to enhance the quality of your sound output in ways an internal sound card can only dream of.

The Xmod is a compact device that consists of one large multipurpose volume dial and a couple of 3.5mm outputs (for headphones and speakers), along with a 3.5mm input, which allows you to use the device as standalone sound enhancer. Xmod is also completely plug-and-play capable, which takes away all the hassle of installing software and fiddling around with settings.

Review: Creative Live! Cam Optia

The propaganda

The Live! Cam Optia is Creative’s latest entry to the webcam market. With so many instant messaging services offering webcam functionality and the rising popularity of video sharing sites, webcams are practically an essential piece of kit for any PC owner.

The Optia offers the standard 640 x 480 resolution, 30 FPS video capture, along with 1.3 megapixel still image capture. You can tweak the focus manually with the focus ring surrounding the lens. The body of the camera can also be twisted on its arm mount to change the angle it is pointing at. One thing that’s lacking is a built-in Microphone, but Creative does supply a little mic and earpiece combo as well as a software CD packed with a range of programs.

Shiny Review: O2 Cocoon – the 02 phone with "consumer style"

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You saw the video review Susi did last night of the O2 Cocoon, now take a moment to read the review…

Although the O2 Cocoon isn’t due until August, it’s sure to make advance gossip waves with its sparkly, original design. A sleek, white clamshell, the display appears as if from nowhere to display time, “now playing” info, caller ID and even text message previews. The phone is definitely music-friendly, packing 2GB (500 tunes) of memory on board with extension to 4GB using a micro SD card. It even plays iTunes Plus DRM-free AAC files. That’s on top of the FM radio and the calling options that give you the choice between quiet background music during a call or complete pause…

Review: Safari web-browser for Windows

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As part of WWDC last night, Steve Jobs unveiled possibly the most important piece of news of the night to consumers – Safari, Apple’s very own web-browser, was to become available on Windows. Quite why any self-respecting Windows user would want to taint their hard drive with El Jobso’s machinery, and quite why Apple are interested in placing their software on Windows in the first place, no one knows. But then, the same thing was said when they announced iTunes would be available on Windows, and there’s no way in a-black-turtleneck-and-jeans heaven the iPod would have seen anywhere near the amount of success had this not been implemented.

So, we know Safari already owns 5% of the market share in web browsers – but will this new availability of the browser for Windows-users increase the popularity? Read on below for my review – and yes, I’ve tried not to wear my Bill Gates-adoration on my sleeve *too* much here, to give you the most unbias review I possibly can…

Review: Ask3D – Ask's revamped search engine

askcom.gifI’m choosing to forget Ask’s rather bizarre ‘propaganda’ advertising of their new search “Ask 3D” search engine as I take a look at how effective it is as a tool, and whether it’s going to pose a threat to Google.

There’s more to Ask3D than the slightly shiny, icon-based eye candy that greets you when you arrive at their front page.

Both Google and Ask are keen to offer a more holistic approach to search results. A search for “Steve Jobs” in Google brings up the usual listing of results, but interspersed with news and video. It’s easy to find these items by scrolling through the results, but they’re not particularly distinct at first glance.

Ask, on the other hand, clearly separates regular web pages, listed in the middle column, from multimedia content and the latest news, displayed in sections in the right-hand column. It’s an elegant layout, marred only slightly by the “Sponsored Results” boxes which don’t integrate as well as their Google counterparts, and can sometimes take up to half of the screen before search results are displayed.