Product brief -- June
Product brief continues as we look at more products from June.
Source: Copyright © PC Pro, Dennis Publishing
With the A-List alternative Panasonic NV-GS180B on its way out, Panasonic has launched the NV-GS230. Internally, the two models are the same, with three, 800,000 pixel CCDs. Sharp images, faithful colours and almost no grain in all but the lowest light put the GS230 head and shoulders above its competition. Just like the old model, you can use the GS230 as a webcam via USB, providing vastly superior image quality over any dedicated webcam. The only possible problem right now is the price – the GS230, in spite of not offering any technological improvements, is around $70 more expensive than the outgoing model. With the GS180B still available, we recommend opting for the older
model while stocks last.
Belkin N1 Wireless Modem Router
Belkin’s N1 Wireless Router now comes in an ADSL modem version. It’s ADSL 2/2+ enabled, supporting connections up to 24Mb/s. At 239mm, it’s also 66mm wider than its standalone cousin, but specifications are otherwise identical. Using the new N1 Wireless USB adapter, which costs $150, throughput at 10m was 31Mb/s, dropping to 18Mb/s when two rooms away. Performance will vary in each home or office however, but we can say is that this is the fastest wireless ADSL router that we’ve seen.
ADS Instant Video To-Go
It’s insane that it often takes much longer to convert a video to a different format than it takes to watch the entire movie. ADS claims that its nifty little USB stick accelerates the process by up to five times, providing hardware acceleration to take the load off your PC. Performance is certainly impressive: it converted 1GB of MPEG3 video into PSP-friendly, 768Kb/s MPEG4 (H.264) in 21mins 30secs; reducing the quality to 320Kb/s and cutting the conversion time to 11mins. Nevertheless, it fell short of the promised 2GB in five minutes. The supplied ArcSoft Media Converter 2 software is simple and supports a wide range of video formats, but at $150 you’d have to be a mobile movie buff to justify the outlay.
Palm Treo 680
This latest Palm handheld uses similar hardware to the Palm Treo 750, so most of our favourable comments about ergonomics apply. The main difference is that the 680 runs Palm OS version 5.4.9 (Garnet), including a new phone application sporting a tabbed interface. Improvements over the 750 include a bright 320 x 320 pixel screen along with better call quality. Disappointments include the VGA-only camera and lack of 3G and Wi-Fi. Existing Treo 650 users will appreciate the updated software and the lack of protruding antenna, but will bemoan the reduced standby/talk time from the smaller battery. But Palm fans who can recharge every couple of days will find this is a great smartphone.