Sunday, January 3, 2010

Sony Ericsson K800 / K790 Review

The Sony Ericsson K800, which we will refer to as K790, since we are dealing with the American version in this review, is the marriage of cell phone and camera. This isn’t the first attempt; many cell phone manufacturers have tried to join the two devices in the past with minimal success, leaving a stigma on future cell phone cameras.

The general consensus believes cell phone cameras lack quality and are only toys, nothing more. This was true in the past, when cell phone cameras were taking sub 1MP shots filled with noise, lacking auto-focus and true flash, but times have changed and technology has made great strides. The K790 will not replace a professional photographer’s $1,000 SLR, however the K790 does have the advantage of convenience. Out and about, we don’t always have a camera to capture precious moments in our lives, but in most cases we do have our cell phones, so if your cell phone was also your camera… Well, you get the picture.

Many wonder if the K790 could replace their camera, which is definitely a good question, as with many things in life, there is no clear cut answer. It’s a balancing act, between photo quality and convenience, preferences differ from one person to the next. Hopefully by the end of this review you’ll have all the information you need to decide for yourself.

Before we begin I’d like to point out the key differences between the K800 and the K790. The K800 supports 900/1800/1900MHz frequencies and UMTS for data, while the K790(a) supports 850/1800/1900MHz and EDGE for data. The K790 also lacks the front camera found on the K800.

Microsoft and Razer Join Forces to Bring You the Ultimate Gaming Keyboard!

I know this is not a portable product, but there’s just too much gamer in me to let this one pass. Razer and the Sith Lord, I mean Microsoft have created one sexy gaming keyboard. I found it strange that they would name the keyboard Reclusa, which stems from the word recluse, meaning to live in solitude, are they inferring something about gamers that play WOW 8 hours a day? I’m sure my Latin teacher would be proud of my inductive reasoning skills, who would have thought, Reclusa originated from recluse? Where is my Nobel Prize, give it up baby!

Reclusa Keyboard Features

  • Blue LED backlit keys allow gaming in low-light or no-light conditions.
  • Razer Hyperesponse Gaming Key Action reduces key latency for maximized response.
  • Two 360 Degree Jog-Dials, one on each side of the keyboard, can be quickly accessed during gameplay.
  • Four Bumper Buttons enable easy access to common keyboard commands.
  • Six programmable gaming Hot Keys allow players to create and store different macros and keystrokes for each game profile so they can combine several moves with the touch of one key.
  • On-the-fly profile management enables users to create and store key mapping and macros for each game profile; keyboard software also automatically assigns different game profiles for supported games.
  • Detachable padded wrist rest is ergonomically designed for exceptional comfort.
  • Gold-plated USB ports provide plug-in access with maximum conductivity for additional peripherals.

The gold-plated USB ports are very impressive from a performance standpoint and from the bling perspective. It’ll be a shame for Lan-Party goers though, having to always hide your bling coated keyboard. If anyone asked me about the bling, I’d tell them it’s just gold colored plastic, but something tells me that wouldn’t stop the weirdos from using their teeth to check for authenticity. I’d turn around only to find some hobo biting my keyboard…

“Stay away hobo, don’t bite my keyboard, it’s not real bling!”

“Oh but it is Iron Cook, I did the bite test and the plating appears to be made of a soft metal alloy… like real gold!”

“A hobo with a chemistry degree, who would have thought, *scratches head*.”

Apple iPhone, The Real Deal!

Practically the most rumored product in the past few years, finally sees the light of day, the Apple iPhone was announced this morning. So just how good is this phone? Lets just say I accidently dropped my $500 mobile handset in my coffee this morning, looks like I’ll have to get a new phone… Everyone speculated the iPhone and the “real” Video iPod with the large touch screen would be two separate products, in a startling move by Apple, it appears both products have been joined. The iPhone will be a true convergence device, it will be your audio/video player, phone and PDA, all in one. With Apple’s past track record, I’m willing to bet the iPhone will be Jack of all trades, master of all.

Give people what they ask for, what a novel idea.

Apple iPhone Specs

  • 11.6 millimeter thickness
  • Accelerometer (aligns the image displayed depending on the orientation of the iPhone.)
  • 3.5-inch wide touch screen with multi-touch support
  • 2 megapixel camera
  • 8 GB storage
  • Bluetooth 2.0
  • WiFi
  • Built-in Speaker
  • Quadband GSM with EDGE
  • Runs OS X (not joking)
  • iTunes supports CoverFlow

It’s good to know no one will be missing out on this god-like handset, thanks to the Quadband GSM. I don’t really expect much from the 2MP camera, I suspect it will only be average. Assuming the iPhone delivers what it promises it will be a huge hit, but one key variable still remains unknown, just how good is the battery life? The battery life can easily make or break the iPhone. The large display and WiFi can wreak havoc on battery life, we’ll see in the future how the iPhone handles these hurdles.

Skype Enabled DAP, MobiBLU Boxon

The progression of Digital Audio Players (DAP) hasn’t been all too exciting, some increased capacity here and some physical appearance changes there, not much else. MobiBLU attempts to step away from the crowd by introducing a Skype enabled DAP, appropriately named given it’s shape, Boxon. So how does it manage to use Skype, doesn’t it need internet? In order to use Skype on the MobiBLU Boxon you’ll need to connect it to a PC (with internet access of course) through the provided data cable. From that point you are free to make phone calls via Skype, not quite as mobile as WiFi Skype based devices, but it may come in handy depending on your lifestyle.

No word yet on pricing or release date.

Product Details:

  • Display - OLED
  • Supported Audio Formats - MP3, WMA, WMA-DRM and OGG.
  • FM Tuner
  • Recorder
  • Voice Recorder
  • Skype

Sandisk Introduces It’s Own DAP, Sansa Connect

Sansa Connect isn’t your average DAP, the main attraction is it’s WiFi capability, which allows for streaming audio. So in addition to the audio tracks stored on the player, you’ll also be able to listen to internet radio when connected to WiFi hotspots. For added flexibility in storage space, Sansa Connect features a MicroSD slot. The player will be priced at $249.99.

Product Details:

  • Play music and view your photos
  • Enjoy Internet Radio wirelessly*
  • Connect to any open Wi-FiTM network
  • Get your music subscription library on the go**
  • Recommend songs to your friends**
  • Sleek, attractive profile with large 2.2” TFT color screen
  • MicroSDTM slot for capacity expansion
  • Features an internal speaker
  • Standard Sansa® 30-pin connector for compatibility with Made for Sansa accessories

iPhone Eat Your Heart Out!

Apple products have always had a strong appeal with the public due to their simplicity and where there is abundant simplicity there is beauty to be found. Does Apple have a monopoly on simplistic solutions? Jitterbug doesn’t think so, introducing the iPhone killer, I give you, OneTouch! This mobile handset should have Steve Jobs rolling around in his sleep, it’s too late to change the iPhone, but Steve will have a chance to redeem himself when he releases the next iteration of the iPhone. OneTouch is priced at $147.00 with no contracts! How cool is that? It has been rumored that the next version of the OneTouch will have the “Call Mom” button added. I know guys, please be patient, I will let you know if / when the “Call Mom” button is confirmed, keep your fingers crossed…

Additional Details on the JesusPhone

Key Features

  • Press Operator to reach a live Jitterbug operator
  • A middle direct dial button personalized for you
  • One-touch access to 911 services
  • Large backlit and bright easy-to-see buttons
  • Helpful onscreen hints
  • Simple “Yes” and “No” action buttons - no confusing icons

That’s Not All

  • A personal phone list stored on the phone with easy access
  • Hearing-aid compatible
  • Padded earpiece to reduce outside noise
  • Familiar dial tone when ready to call
  • Convenient no-mistake volume control
  • Easy-to-use message service and retrieval
  • Separate on/off button
  • Fits comfortably in your hand and around your ear
  • Easy speakerphone activation
  • Easy to do-it-yourself, ask a friend or have us update your phone list and features at your personal, secure Jitterbug web page

Microsoft Zune Review

The Microsoft Zune is a very unique product that has a lot of potential. When I say unique, I’m not necessarily referring to it’s functionality. The Zune is unique because it actually stands a chance against the Apple iPod, which has clearly dominated the digital player market since it’s debut in 2001.

The key to the iPod’s dominance wasn’t simply due to superior design or functionality, the iTunes store was at the heart of the success. For the first time iTunes provided a way for consumers to easily find, purchase and download music to their iPods, the whole process takes a matter of minutes. Before iTunes came along, consumers would purchase the music in CD format, rip the tracks from the CD, then transfer them to their digital player of choice. Sounds like a big hassle doesn’t it? Not to mention, time consuming as well.

Why other digital player manufacturers haven’t followed in Apple’s footsteps is still a mystery to me. That’s where the Microsoft Zune comes into play, they are the first company I’ve seen able to match the iTunes store in ease of use and pricing of music.