Got a few new gadgets recently, thought I’d share.
First up, the Logitech Harmony 880 remote. I give this one a 10/10. No messing with product keys, easy PC-based setup. It even remembers the power state of your devices, which makes switching from one macro to another easy as pie. Built in macros cover just about everything you’d want to do, and are easy enough to tweak to your specifications. Some will work right out of the box, the others might require a few changes depending on your equipment.
Buttons flanking a beautiful color screen provide the tactile feedback and extensibility missing in Sony’s more expensive RM-AV3000 (which I give a 5/10). Keys are backlit and it even has a tilt sensor that illuminates the remote for you when you lift it. The charging station eliminates the annoyance of replacing your batteries every week, as most remotes with a screen like that would require.
I still haven’t found anything about this product to dislike. This is the remote you’d buy for your grandma, or for your teenager. It’s powerful and yet user-friendly at the same time. It’s damn near perfect in every way.
Next up is the Creative Zen Vision W. I give it a 7.5/10. This 60 gigger has a beautiful screen, plays DivX and Xvid, wmv, and mpg for video and all sorts of audio files. It feels very sturdy and well made. It has a built in external speaker (which I wish they would have made a tad louder) , comes with a video out cable, and unlike the Zen Vision: M does not require an adapter to plug into your PC, just a USB cable (included).
I have to dock it a couple points though. It doesn’t play dvr-ms files, which is what Media Center records to. I have to think that a lot of the target audience for this device would love to be able to skip the conversion times that necessitates. I know I would.
The navigation system is button-based, which is nowhere near as nice as the slider on the Vision: M (which, in turn, is still quite inferior to the click wheel). It’s large to the point of unpocketability (I hear there’s a slimmer version dropping in the very near future), though I guess that’s to be expected. The included software does a pretty bad job of converting video (it’s incredibly slow on the highest quality setting and the results are still atrocious) and though you can use Windows Media Player instead, that isn’t a whole lot better. The included case is basically just a pouch and they could have been a bit more thoughtful there. On the whole though still a great purchase if you like to watch video on the go and don’t mind doing a little conversion here and there.
I also picked up the Pantech PX-500 mobile broadband card from Sprint. I was fully expecting to hate it and make quick use of their return policy from the little time I spent using Verizon’s EVDO service on friends’ computers. I’d heard that Sprints service had higher speeds and lower latency though so I thought I’s give it a shot.
I was instantly amazed. Download speeds were great and the latency was relatively minor. I don’t know if it’s the equipment or the service, but I definitely recommend this combo for anyone looking for some 3G action.
The card supports Rev A, which still isn’t in too many markets (nowhere near mine) but which Sprint claims they’ll have upgraded all of their service to by 3rd quarter of this year. I’m anxious to take that for a test drive.
Overall I have to give this a 9/10. Sprint’s software is atrocious and entirely unnecessary, and if it weren’t for that I might have given them a 10. If you buy one of these, just Google around for instructions on setting it up directly in Windows (which is your only option anyway if you’re on Vista). You’ll save yourself a lot of annoyance.
So, I’ve been pretty lucky lately, at least gadget-wise. Nothing below an 8. What cool new toys have you gotten lately?