GelaSkins had an exciting announcement today: they unveiled a new line of iPod, iPhone, and laptop skins based on Marvel Comics superheroes, including Iron Man, Spider Man, and the X-Men! All of the designs are available now in their store in the various shapes and forms they come in, but they were kind enough to provide me some review samples prior to the release for an exclusive over at Gearlog on behalf of PCMag.com.
The snapshot above is one of the images I took of the new iPod Skins, but wait until you see what I did with my iPod, and then what I did to my Macbook Pro using the new designs! Head over to Gearlog to see!
If you know me, you know I’m a huge fan of products that do more than one thing; solve more than one problem. If you know me you also know I’m dead set against bulky belt-clips for mobile phones that do nothing but make your precious phone easier to steal and let the world know what kind of device you have. Seriously, I even wrote an article over at our sister blog The Classy Geek about the fact that if CES 2010 taught me anything, there’s no excuse to walk around with a belt clip for your phone.
To that end, the fine folks at Malcolm Fontier were kind enough to send me one of their newest products, the iMojito, a combination wallet and mobile phone holster, that’s designed to not only be stylish, but also keep all of your important items like your phone, your ID, your credit cards, and a little bit of cash even, securely tucked away in your pocket without looking like you’re carrying a massive weight in your pants pocket. I really liked the iMojito, and I’d reccomend it not just for people who have iPhones, but anyone who’s tired of carrying a mobile phone case and a bulky wallet and wants to lighten their load. Read more of my impressions behind the jump.
If you’ve been to an electronics store in recent years, you know that there are tons of gaming peripherals that are up there in the high hundreds of dollars when it comes to price tags – the Logitech G19 gaming keyboard shown above runs a smooth $200 US retail, and the Razr Megalodon gaming headset can run you close to $130 US. Even Logitech’s shiny G9x gaming mouse is close to $100 US.
That being said though, the question remains – will they actually up your game? Will all the promises of more precise shots, tons more frags, better raids, and higher scores that come on all of the packages actually come true if you open your wallet? I, on behalf of Tom’s Hardware, set out to find out. I went from premium peripheral to premium peripheral from some of the top manufacturers, and then eventually wound up back to plain old OEM peripherals to see if I missed them, or if it really mattered to have them at all.
I tried each peripheral for close to a week, and went from premium keyboards to mice, to headsets to gamepads, and played some of my favorite and most familiar titles, like World of Warcraft, Call of Duty 4, Team Fortress 2, and more – my conclusions? Well – you’ll just have to head over and read my debut article at Tom’s Hardware to find out!
That’s right! This article is my first byline at Tom’s Hardware and was the result of several months’ work over some pretty hard times, so I’m proud of it. Check it out!
So one of the few mobile analysts I actually trust managed to get their hands on the newly announced Motorola Droid: Sascha Segan, writing for PCMag. Not only has he had the opportunity to test and fiddle with the Droid for the past several days, but he managed to get one of the first preview videos and hands-on first impressions that didn’t amount to little more than a photo fest (I’m looking at you Engadget and Gizmodo, but if you want that he has that too.) and so far it looks good. Really good.
Now Segan points out something very important – people are debating whether this device is an “iPhone Killer,” and frankly, the iPhone doesn’t need to be “killed” at all – there’s more than enough room for multiple strong smartphones on multiple carriers. Goodness knows that prior to the Droid, Verizon suffered from a complete and utter lack of them. If you wanted a smartphone that wasn’t a Blackberry, you were pretty much out of luck.
That being said, the Droid has some serious strong suits – a beautiful display that’s among one of the best ever put on the front of a phone, a 5MP camera that takes beautiful photos and DVD-quality video, all in an attractive and small package. Check out his video:
I have to admit, it looks really good, and Google’s turn-by-turn GPS navigation is definitely a strong suit that we’ll see in future devices from other manufacturers. Theres’ also a photo slideshow if you want more pretty pictures. In the meantime though, the Droid apparently is more than just good, it’s Editor’s Choice quality good.
Check out the full review at PCMag:
This hands-on test with Dell’s new Latitude Z wouldn’t really be notable if it weren’t for the fact that the Latitude Z is one of the first completely wireless laptops. That is, the Z has support for wireless USB, UWB, wireless internet, and even takes a page out of the Palm Pre’s book and doesn’t need a charging cable plugged directly into the laptop in order to recharge the battery: you can rest it on top of its docking station and it charges. When you’re ready to go, just lift it back off and you’re ready to go.
Naturally, the docking station will likely have a cable that runs to the wall so it gets power, and any other connected cables for peripherals that still require a physical connection to the docking station, but aside from that, the Z is completely and utterly wireless.
The “Z” stands for the z-height of the laptop, implying that the Latitude Z is incredibly thin and very portable. The Latitude line has always been directed at business users who need portability, but the wealth of features and wireless goodies under the hood of this model are impressive.
Best of all, the Z600 model is available now, so if you need that kind of portability, you can get it! Check out PC Mag’s full hands-on review under the jump.
Netbooks. All the rage, I think we can all agree – but if you’re planning to buy one, you could spend a ridiculous amount of time trying to figure out which one is best for you. My advice is the same that I would give to anyone planning to buy a notebook computer – try to touch one before you buy it. That way you get a feel (pun completely intended) for what the device feels like under your fingers, how it behaves during regular use, and how you feel when you use it. You can read as many reviews as you like, but there’s no real replacement for actual use.
That being said, one other good thing to have is personal experience from others who have used the same models that you have – you could search out customer reviews, but over at Lifehacker one of the regular features is called the Hive Five, where the editors poll the community for their favorite app, product, device, or other item in a given category. In this case, Netbooks.
The community weighed in, and there are a number of unsurprising entries, but a few that I wouldn’t have predicted. For example, I would be surprised if the Dell Mini 10 didn’t make a list of top netbooks, but I was definitely surprised to see the Samsung NC10. For the rest of the list, head on over to Lifehacker to read all about it, and some pros and cons of each product.
Netbooks are all the rage these days, and while they’re usually cheap, you find some that are on the other end of the spectrum like Dell’s Adamo and Apple’s MacBook Air – portables that are in many ways more like netbooks than notebooks, but cost a lot more money. In the middle of the road though is the lineup of traditional notebooks and laptops that we all know and love, and all of the features we’ve come to expect from them.
But if you’re looking to buy a netbook, does that mean you have to compromise on all of the features you want? Does that mean you have to give up all of your horespower in exchange for an overblown Web browser? Not necessarily: Cisco Cheng, writing or PC Mag, has an excellent roundup of notebook performance versus netbook performance, and a great lineup of what features you can expect to get in a netbook for the price.
For example, you don’t be doing any high-end gaming on any netbook –or most notebooks for that matter– but there are some surprising results. Cisco tested ripping audio, transcoding video, and resizing high resolution images – all pretty system intensive tasks. He tested an array of netbooks, including the Acer Aspire One, the Dell Studio 15, the Lenovo Ideapad Y650, and more. Head over to see the results!
As a proud owner of the Logitech G15 (1st version – the 2nd version I hate because I can’t stand the orange backlighting), I was thrilled when I saw the designs for the G19 at CES earlier this year. Now the Logitech G19 is close to release, and the lucky folks at ExtremeTech took it for a spin to see how it performed, both as an everyday keyboard and as the gaming luxury it was designed to be.
The general conclusion? The G19 is an excellent keyboard, albeit overpriced at $199 MSRP. Yeah, that’s a lot of money to spend on a keyboard – there’s no doubt about that. But look at it! It’s so gorgeous…so beautiful…so…look at the blue keys…
Okay fine. I don’t think anyone but the most aggressive, rolling-in-money gamers (or those willing to part with their hard earned cash…like me) will find themselves picking this up when it’s released. But as the price slides down, Logitech may have a real winner on their hands – and they may even without.
See that gaming beauty up there? That faceplate is powered by a motor, and can lift up and down on command. Now as flashy as that is, there’s some serious gaming horsepower under that automatic hood, so the package comes with more than just good looks.
Over at PC Mag, Nicole Price Fasig has assembled a list of recession-friendly (sort of) gaming systems that still pack the oomph required to play the latest titles at high resolutions. Among them are the Acer Aspire Predator shown above, and the Gateway FX6800-01e, which earned the venerable Editor’s Choice.
Don’t get me wrong, none of these rigs are cheap in the common sense of the word – they’re cheap by comparison to similarly spec’d gaming PCs. Part of that means that the cheapest rig in the roundup just also happens to be the best, the Gateway FX6800-01e, which rings up at $1249.99 retail. That Acer up there just happens to be the most expensive in the roundup, coming in at $2199 retail.
You do get a lot of bang for the buck, to be fair, and if you’re looking for a new gaming rig and you’re not interested in building yourself, check out PC Mag’s roundup.
I’m a huge fan of the Logitech G5 – I even passed over the arguably better Logitech G9 gaming mouse to get another G5 – it’s one of the best mice I’ve ever used. I even chose a G5 over the Razer Lachesis I was using prior to that (that’s a whole other story). The G5 is one of ExtremeTech’s best gaming mice, but the mouse selections aren’t limited to gaming – if you’re looking for some of the most portable mice, or some of the most ergonomic and comfortable mice to use, you can find some of those as well in the rundown.
In the “best general mice” category, you’ll find mice like the Logitech MX 1100 and the MX Revolution – mice that you’d want to use at the office or for long periods of actual interaction. Admittedly I’m a Logitech fan, but there are some Microsoft mice in there also. There’s also the gaming category, the laptop category (home to winners like Logitech’s VX Revolution and The Arc Mouse), and the ergonomic category, where you’ll find really strange mice like Zero Tension Mouse and the Quill Mouse.
What would be a best mouse rundown without a best keyboard category? ExtremeTech also released a best keyboards rundown, in the generic, gaming macro, gaming hybrid, gamepad, and media center keyboard categories. The Logitech G15 (shown above, and my personal favorite – although I preferred the original one with the blue LEDs to the new one above with the orange ones) is one of the highlights in the gaming macro category, as is the Microsoft Sidewinder X6.
In the generic category, check out the Logitech MX 5500 Revolution, currently reigning supreme on my office desk. If I didn’t have one though, I’d be interested in the Ceasar KB005. My girlfriend? She adores the also highly-rated Microsoft Natural Ergonomic 4000. Head over to the hybrid gaming or gamepad categories if you’re one of those folks who loves keyboard accessories to enhance your gaming experience, and media center keyboards if you have an HTPC you’d like to control from the couch (I’m a fan of the Logitech DiNovo).