In recent years, Monster Cables started to expand its business to include a handful of headphones, the first models coming from a collaboration with hip-hop producer Dr. Dre. The company's offerings now comprise a couple of in-ear sets, including the top-of-the-line Turbine Pro In-Ear Speakers, a $299 number that features the same heavy, metal earpieces as found on the first Turbine earphones. While we wish Monster had incorporated an integrated mic and iPod controls at this price point, it's hard to overlook the Turbine Pro's high-end look and feel and top-notch sound.
SanDisk said Monday that it is shipping memory chips that will allow consumers to store more data on tiny Secure Digital flash cards.
The Milpitas, Calif., company's X4 technology packs four bits of data into each memory cell. To date, flash memory chipmakers typically stored one bit or two bits per cell. Each individual die--or chip--holds 64 gigabits of data, or 8 gigabytes. This is the highest capacity per die in the industry, according to SanDisk.
The technology is not yet shipping in cutting-edge retail products, however: it is currently being used in 8GB and 16GB SDHC (Secure Digital … Read more
Welcome to the 411, my Q&A column answering all your questions about cell phones and cell phone accessories. I receive plenty of queries about these subjects via e-mail, so I figured many of you might be wondering about the same things, too. At times, I might solicit answers from readers if I'm stumped. Send your questions and comments to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you prefer to remain anonymous, let me know in the e-mail.
Hi Nicole, I'm thinking of upgrading my mobile phone in the near future. I've been a BlackBerry user for the past couple of years, and I've really given this thing a beating. I have dropped it more times than I can count, sometimes at a great enough velocity to send the battery cover flying well past the rest of the phone. What I am wondering is, how durable are today's touch-screen phones? I've heard that the Pre is particularly fragile. Are the OLED devices any better or worse? Would you recommend someone like me sticking with a non-touch device, since once you crack a touch screen, you are left with an expensive paperweight? -- Jay, via e-mail.
If you abuse your phone that much, I would say touch-screen phones are probably not the best for you. Touch-screen phones usually have a glass surface as the display, which, of course, is particularly susceptible to cracking. You might consider a durable case of some kind to prevent everyday nicks and scratches, though. There are also many manufacturers that make scratch-resistant screen overlays, like the Zagg invisible shields, for example. But if you're truly concerned, then yes, perhaps a more durable phone is in order. You can check out phones like the Sonim XP3 Quest or the Casio Exilim C721, both of which are rugged enough to withstand the elements. Check out our reviews of other durable phones, too, if you want more options.
I am due for an upgrade in October and was seriously considering a BlackBerry Tour on Verizon Wireless. The only thing is that I have big hands and while some people might laugh it makes for an uncomfortable experience on those BlackBerry devices. My question is this: Does RIM have any plans on coming out with a BlackBerry device that has bigger keys? Or am I doomed to never be able to use a BlackBerry device at all? -- Stu, via e-mail
RIM has been pretty consistent with the size and shape of its BlackBerry handhelds, so I don't think RIM will enhance the size of its keyboards any time soon.… Read more
Directory Lister Pro captures directory information and creates easy-to-read lists. While cluttered in spots, the results certainly gave us a dense, but usable picture of our file collection.
The program's bland, white interface didn't feel intuitive and we had to consult the Help file and its concise definitions of the program's commands and search options. However, we were soon zipping through the onscreen file tree to check which folders we wanted scanned. We were able to create directories of these folders based on search parameters we set ourselves. These parameters, housed in several tabs of options ranging … Read more
I've spent the majority of this week trying to hunt down quality (free) web video of the Britcar 500 event that rocked Silverstone Circuit roughly a week ago. So far, the best I've come up with is an in-car cam vid of the first lap around the storied Silverstone track. I mean, it's OK but not quite as eye-appealing as I would prefer. On the other hand, I did dig up a video that served as a preview for the Britcar 500, courtesy of PitLanePro on good ol' YouTube. And here it is...
The inaugural Britcar 500 … Read more
Weightmania Pro is a basic program that allows users to track their nutrition and physical activity as they pursue their weight-loss goals. The program works fine, but there's nothing particularly impressive about it.
The program's interface is plain and reminds us a little bit of Microsoft Outlook, with its little calendar in the left pane and main content in a large central pane. The program's features are neatly arranged in tabs and are fairly easy to navigate; there's a tab for the journal, where users enter their information each day, and tabs for statistics and charts. … Read more
Last week I posted a review of the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-WX1, but this post is not really about my review. It's about two user reviews (written by users I doubt have actually used the camera). One calls my review flawed, while the other praises the camera and then gives it a half-star rating out of five stars. Why? Sony's use of Memory Stick media for storage.
According to the first user review, the reason my review was "flawed" was because I didn't mention the use of Memory Stick media as a con and a reason … Read more
PDF-XChange Pro is a swift tool for converting files to PDF, though it takes an unusual path to get its results. Regardless, the program offers enough fantastic options to make up for its design flaws.
The program confused us with its interface. We've tested many PDF converters, but had never dealt with one featuring a file tree offering just Microsoft Word, Excel, and Internet Explorer logos. After briefly reading the instructional Help file and performing some experiments, we realized that drop down menu is how you seek out a file to convert. We would have preferred searching through our … Read more
Call it the Netbook halo effect: small and cheap is infectious. A quick peek at the lineups of new laptops slated for the Windows 7 (October 22) roll-out make it clear that the prices of mainstream and higher-end laptops are diving, even as the technology gets better.
"There's a new reality in laptop pricing," said Bob O'Donnell, an analyst at market-researcher IDC. "It's getting harder and harder to sell anything over $800." O'Donnell cited a data point that showed the average selling price of notebooks falling below desktops briefly in retail. "That may have been an anomaly, but the fact that's it's even close is indicative of this phenomenon."
That said, let's start with HP, the world's largest PC supplier. Svelte, well-built business laptops have historically been priced at a premium--starting at more than $1,000. Not anymore. On October 22, HP will begin selling the 13-inch ProBook 5310m that is about 0.9 inches thin, less than four pounds, and clad in an aluminum display enclosure and a magnesium alloy bottom case for $699.
That's about $800 less than the HP EliteBook 2530p business notebook series introduced in August of last year (that started at about $1,500). The 5310m is priced at $699 with an Intel Celeron dual-core processor and $899 with Intel Core 2 Duo chip. Both come with the Windows 7 operating system.
That's what I call a sea change in pricing.
But it gets better. Then there's the 4-pound HP Pavilion dm3 notebook that starts at $549 (no, it's not a Netbook) and will likely range up to about $700 in price for a reasonable memory and hard drive configuration. The 13-inch laptop comes with power-efficient Intel Core 2 Duo or AMD Neo dual-core processors and a standard 6-cell battery that delivers--so HP claims--up to 10 hours of battery life.
I was able to play with a dm3 at a function sponsored by Advanced Micro Devices recently in San Francisco. My immediate impression was that this was a light but solid design.
Welcome to the 411, my Q&A column answering all your questions about cell phones and cell phone accessories. I receive plenty of questions about these subjects via e-mail, so I figured many of you might have the same questions, too. At times, I might solicit answers from readers if I'm stumped. Send your questions and comments to me at email@example.com. If you prefer to remain anonymous, let me know in the e-mail.
Thanks to Bonnie Cha for her help with the first couple of questions!