Hardware News Roundup

Friday Oct 6th 2006 by Eric Grevstad
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Here's a look at the latest news on Sony notebooks, Logitech keyboards, I/Omagic USB drives and storage from WD and HP.

PC Stands for Pretty Colors
Sony Electronics has freshened its lightweight lineup with a five-pound, Intel Core 2 Duo-powered slimline notebook that'll be offered in five colors -- espresso black, urban gray, spring green, seashell white and blush pink.

For around $1,350, the Vaio C Series combines a 13.3-inch widescreen XBrite-Eco display with an onboard double-layer DVD±RW drive and 802.11a/b/g wireless. Sony hasn't yet released detailed specifications for the model, due to ship in late October, but we found an online retailer accepting orders for a Vaio VGN-C140G/B configured with a 1.66GHz Core 2 Duo processor, 1GB of memory, a 120GB hard drive plus the DVD burner and Intel GMA 950 integrated graphics.

If you're looking for something even lighter, Sony's 2.8-pound Vaio TX has offered connections to Cingular's EDGE wireless wide-area network as well as Wi-Fi hotspots since its introduction. Now a new VGN-TXN10 model supports Sprint's broadband-capable Power Vision Network, which covers more than 150 million Americans in 216 major metropolitan areas.

As Sprint rolls out faster EV-DO Revision A technology later this year and in 2007, you can look forward to upload speeds of 300Kbps to 400Kbps and download speeds of 450Kbps to 800Kbps. Equipped with an 11.1-inch widescreen display and built-in DVD burner, the Core Solo-powered Vaio TXN10 is available in charcoal, platinum, sienna and slate blue for approximately $2,300.

I/OMagic Introduces Small and Smaller USB Hard Drives
How much grab-and-go data backup and file storage do you need? Well, how big is your pocket? I/OMagic Corp. has launched two 2.5-inch external hard drives, each powered by the same USB 2.0 bus used for data transfer so you won't have an AC adapter weighing you down.

For $120, the 80GB Data To Go portable drive is a sleek, black gadget that measures 2.9- by 4.9- by 0.5-inches. The GigaBank Ultra 120 offers even more capacity -- 120GB -- in an even smaller -- 2.0-by 2.5- by 0.5-inches -- package, with a one-button backup function and simulated leather and chrome case. The Ultra 120 is expected to ship soon with an introductory price of $160.

Logitech Launches Elite, Ultra-Thin Keyboard
Logitech's keyboard line has a new flagship -- a Bluetooth wireless, rechargeable keyboard laser that's cut from a single piece of black Plexiglas just 0.75 inch thick. The Logitech diNovo Edge combines minimalist style with a TouchDisc navigation pad that works like a notebook touchpad with the addition of circular movements for vertical and horizontal scrolling, accompanied by a touch-sensitive volume slider and zoom in, zoom out, and 100-percent-size view buttons.

Backlit icons shine through the semi-translucent keyboard when you press a function key to change the F-keys to media-control. Program-launch keys become invisible again when the keys return to their normal functions. The diNovo's flat profile reduces uncomfortable wrist extension, while micro-scissor key mechanisms sense a push on the edge as well as the center of each key.

Shipping in November, the $200 keyboard comes with a USB micro-receiver for PCs without built-in Bluetooth and a stylish stand that recharges the diNovo Edge for up to two months' battery life with a two-hour charge.

Serious Storage from WD and HP
Ever-larger music collections, digital photos, and videos -- not to mention spreadsheets, e-mails and presentations -- are driving demand for versatile, high-capacity storage. Two companies are answering the call, starting with Western Digital's new 1TB version of its small-footprint, plug-and-play (USB 2.0, FireWire 400 and FireWire 800) MyBook desktop storage system. The $549 MyBook Pro Edition II's two hard drives can be configured as either a 1TB RAID 0 or 500GB RAID 1 array for a choice of faster performance or real-time data-mirroring backup, respectively. SmartPower and Safe Shutdown features automatically power the device on and off with the host PC and save data before shutoff.

HP targets home users with the Media Vault MV2010 (300GB for $380) and MV2020 (500GB for $450), Ethernet network-attached storage units with three USB 2.0 ports to share printers and one vacant bay apiece for expansion up to 1.2TB via a second 3.5-inch Serial ATA drive. In addition to automated backup, the Media Vault streams multimedia files to a Media Center PC or other system -- one CinemaNow movie (The Bourne Identity) comes preinstalled, with a coupon two additional free movie downloads. HP has also introduced 80GB ($150) and 120GB ($220) Pocket Media Drives, wallet-sized 2.5-inch hard disks with USB interfaces.

Adapted from hardwarecentral.com.

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