Looks like I’ve got my work cut out for me these next couple of weeks. Now that John Chow is back from Taiwan, he has unloaded a heck of a lot of swag from his Computex visit so that I can review these items for The TechZone. To make matters even more complex, I just received a pair of cell phones to review for Mobile Magazine. I haven’t had a chance to play with all the new toys just yet, but here are my initial impressions of these tech goodies thus far.
You’ll remember that last week, I received the LG Cherry Chocolate Phone from Bell Mobility. It’s quite the gorgeous-looking phone with its smooth exterior and rounded edges, but usability and functionality aren’t quite where they should be. I found myself accidentally pressing the touch-sensitive keys when I didn’t want to. The lack of memory expansion is also a fairly considerable pain in the you know what. Despite its pleasant appearance, I have a hard time recommending the LG Chocolate, whether its black, white, red, or whatever other color that they’re concocting.
Just this morning, the Fedex guy came by and dropped off the HTC P4000 Pocket PC Phone from Telus Mobility. HTC is really making an effort to make a big splash in Canada and if the P4000 is any indication, they’re in for a world of success. From the Rogers Wireless camp comes the TyTn and Excalibur, whereas Telus gets CDMA versions of the Hermes (P4000) and the Vox (S720). I’ve only played with the P4000 for a few minutes, but I’m quite happy with the experience thus far. There’s a bit of lag when switching from portrait to landscape mode, but having that slide-out QWERTY keyboard is a dream come true. I would have liked some more button separation, however.
The BlueAnt SuperTooth Light Bluetooth speaker is larger than I would have liked, but it is remarkably light and the speaker itself is very loud. The microphone is spring-assisted as it pops out the side. When the mic is deployed, the device automatically turns out. I loved using this while driving and it is certainly more comfortable than a regular Bluetooth headset.
The Genius Look 313 Media webcam… well, I haven’t even taken it out of its shrinkwrap. This webcam is quite large, capable of 1.3 megapixel stills, and has a pair of integrated stereo speakers. In fact, these speakers on on a hinge of some sort that allows them to point in any direction you’d like. What I find strange is that despite having a rather high-tech appearance and a large footprint, there’s no built-in microphone. Instead, you have to provide your own and connect it through the provided mic slot.
That grey thing is a neoprene-like case for laptops by Gigabyte. They call it the “Super Protector” for A4-sized laptops. I tried fitting my 14.1-inch widescreen Dell Inspiron 640m in there and it wouldn’t fit. I like the memory foam effect, but unless you have a 13.3-inch or smaller notebook, I wouldn’t bother with this case.
ThermalTake provided its iXoft notebook cooling pad. It doesn’t smell all that great — it has a new rubber/plastic kind of stench to it at first — but it does a rather great job at keeping your laptop cool. The grip on the bottom is also quite nice, preventing your laptop from sliding off of, well, your lap. Retail price is about $30-$40 Canadian, give or take.
Last but not least are the SD card and pair of USB Flash drives from OCZ. The high-speed SD card has a built-in USB connector — just pop off the cap — making it easy to connect to just about any computer. The two thumb drives are fairly speedy with 20MB/sec sustained transfer rates. And yes, they have little LEDs in them to indicate activity.
Whew! If only these brief reviews were good enough. Instead, I gotta produce 1000 words-ish write ups on each of these products. But hey, at least I got some new toys to play with in the meantime.