Tech Reviews

Xbox 360 Excels as a Media Hub

Let's be clear -- your teenager wants an Xbox 360. This video game console, made by Microsoft, is the hottest thing around, offering fantastic games, amazing graphics, and state-of-the-art accessories. But even if you don't have any minors in the house, or you aren't a current or former video game junkie, you might still want to check out an Xbox. While Xbox 360 remains the cream of the crop in terms of gaming, its uses go beyond anything involving button mashing.


Casio Exilim EX-FC100 Does It All, and Then Some

The Casio Exilim EX-FC100 has everything you need in a camera, and then some. It's light enough that you might forget about it until it is time to leap into action. And, oh, what nice results.


Easy-to-Use Violight Razor Sanitizer Zaps Germs

Violight Razor Sanitizer is a carrying case for your razor with a little something extra. A little ultraviolet light that aims to demolish bacteria and germs away from your clean, close shave.


SanDisk Sansa Fuze: Still a Great Little Media Player

Online bargain house Woot! is offering the 4GB, refurbished version of SanDisk's Sansa Fuze for a mere $32.99 today. As we reviewed back in 2008, the Fuze was one of our favorite media players, and remains so today. If you're thinking that sounds like a sweet deal, check out our review for more details.


Hewlett-Packard Mini 1151 NR: Ultra-Portable Netbook Takes Web Almost Anywhere

Ultra-portability just got a little more ultra-portable with the Hewlett-Packard Mini 1151 NR. Verizon is the first major carrier in the U.S. to embed an EV-DO chip directly into a computer. In other words, the 1151 NR works a lot like your smartphone when it comes to the Web. It can dial up blazing speeds on Verizon's 3G network just about anywhere. And like a smartphone, Verizon is subsidizing the cost of the machine when you sign up for a one- or two-year commitment.


Bodyguardz Protects Your Handheld Gadgets--But is it the Best?

A few months ago, we put Zagg's invisibleSHIELD phone/product protector to the test, and were generally pleased with the results. We came across BodyGuardz from NLU Products, a very similar shield that sticks right to your device -- in our case, a smartphone. The BodyGuardz and invisibleSHIELD products, in fact, have so much in common that to read both reviews could lead to deja vu. But there are crucial differences.


Verizon Wireless' Motorola Rival is All About Texting

If texting teens are the generation of the future, then Verizon Wireless' new Motorola Rival phone is the perfect device to march them forward.


Verizon Wireless' MiFi Changes the Game

Verizon Wireless' MiFi 2200 is branded as an "intelligent mobile hotspot." In other words, wherever you take the MiFi, you can bring the Internet with you, accessible via any Wi-Fi-enabled device. Sounds ridiculously easy, right? What's the catch? Well, in terms of functionality, there really isn't a catch.


Backing Up Couldn't Be Easier Easy With SanDisk Ultra Backup

Vicious malware. Faulty, exploding batteries. An unfortunate incident with an in-flight beverage service. Sure, if you're careful, these are unlikely. But any one of these could ruin your day by fritzing out your computer when you need it most. Say, on a business trip, when you are carrying crucial digital presentations in that laptop. Backing up your files used to be a laborious process. No longer. Just push that button on the SanDisk Ultra Backup.


Activeion: Perhaps the Greenest Green Cleaner

While even big chemical companies are slowly tiptoeing into the field of green, like Clorox with its 'Green Works' line, there is a a company that is trying to truly revolutionize the notion of green cleaning. It's innovative solution? Omitting chemicals altogether. Activeion is a handheld device that looks like a space-age spray bottle, sanitizes and cleans stains with . . . water. Though that may sound unsanitary and downright ineffective, but it actually works.


Is Bing the Next Big Search-Engine Thing?

Whatever the reason, it's always a little painful to watch Microsoft try to break into a market dominated by "the cool kids." So with last week's unveiling of Bing -- Microsoft's search-engine answer to Google -- it was easy to imagine the skeptical faces of tech journalists, smirking while poised to spill some unflattering virtual ink.


Is It Tough Enough? Make it Tougher With the InvisibleSHIELD

What would we do without our cell phones? A decade ago they were merely a convenience. With added features like Internet, e-mail, GPS, extended coverage, unlimited minutes, and mobile messaging, their importance has eclipsed most other forms of personal business technology. Naturally, we want to protect them. The Zagg invisibleSHIELD is a film that is custom-cut for your device. When properly applied, the clear sticker protects your phone and is barely noticeable. In other words, the compelling form that prompted you to pick that smartphone in the first place does not need


Samsung Omnia: Stepping Up to the Plate

While the debate surrounding personal computers tends to center on Microsoft vs. Apple, when it comes to smartphones, Windows Mobile is often an afterthought. WinMo needed a homerun to get back in the game. Good thing the Samsung Omnia wields a mighty bat.


Hands On With an MSN Direct-Assisted GPS

My opportunity to test Garmin's nuvi 285WT, one of the many GPS units that include Microsoft's MSN Direct enhancement, couldn't have come at a better time. It coincided perfectly with an all-too-rare road trip to San Diego, Calif., a place that I'm not exactly familiar with. The enhanced information is transmitted on an otherwise unused part of the FM radio spectrum, and is available in many areas. And, boy, was it useful.


Weathering the BlackBerry Storm

One of the buzzwords of the decade is convergence. Manufacturers are trying their best to squeeze feature after feature into every device, things we didn't know we needed until we find ourselves addicted to them. There's a reason that the BlackBerry line of phones has been nicknamed the "crackberry," after all. Tech Vault tried out the the much-anticipated BlackBerry Storm. I'll say this up front: The technology is impressive and the style is sharp. But how it performed is another story -- one that requires more nuance than a simple thumbs up or thumbs down.


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