Hooray for Tuesday! It’s now the morning of January 9 and I’m headed to a 9 a.m. meeting with Samsung Mobile, but my cab takes the Strip to get to the LVCC making me late. (In case you missed the previous entries, here are Jan. 7 and Jan. 8, parts one and two.)
Despite the continued accolades heaped upon Samsung’s phones by others, I’ve always been
a bit sour on them. Great designs, but there’s always something that’s just a bit off. Nothing too terrible to discourage people from buying them (except for that flat, little proprietary headphone/USB/charging jack they insist on using), but still.
Anyhoo, I was mostly there to get some “face time” with the reps that help me do my job all year round, since it’s now Tuesday and we’ve already covered all the major announcements including The Simpson’s phones, um, twice.
While Samsung did have some swell new handsets, the one I really want to get my hands on, I can’t. The Samsung X830 is just a kick-ass piece of design work. It’s a music player navigated by a click wheel that handles MP3/ACC/ACC+/e-AAC+/WMA files. It’s a tiny phone with all the major trappings you could want in a tiny pocket phone. And it has two separate interfaces—one for the phone, one for the music player—so there’s no need to open the phone to listen to music. Sadly, it will likely never show up in the U.S. on a carrier. Such is life.
Okay, so now it’s 10 a.m. and I’m at Kodak’s booth for a quick tour. This is my first time seeing the company’s new line of digital picture frames in person. I’ve always held the belief that no one buys digital picture frames for themselves. Get or give one as a gift, absolutely, but I’d never drop the money for personal use.
There were a lot of photo frames this year at CES and Kodak had some of the nicer ones, both in looks and features. Available in 7-, 8- and 10-inch sizes without built-in Wi-Fi and 8- and 10-inch frames with Wi-Fi, the frames feature MP3 support for playing music through the built-in speakers, are Pict Bridge enabled so you can print directly from the frame and you can do simple edits on the frame as well. I’m not keen on how the back of the frames look, but if they’re facing a wall, who cares? All that’s really important is good looks and a good screen up front and ease of operation, and it looks like Kodak nailed that.
The other hardware things to come out of Kodak at the show (aside from some fashion bags, if you consider that hardware) are the EASYSHARE V1003 ($250) and V803 ($200) Zoom digital cameras that have 10-megapixel and 8-megapixel resolutions respectively, with 3X optical zoom lenses and come in a choice of eight colors. As typical with Kodak’s digicams, they’ll feature good on-camera, ease-of-use features like 22 scene modes, blurry picture alert and digital red-eye reduction.
Next I stop at the Renaissance Hotel that’s just outside the LVCC South Hall for two meetings: Buffalo Technology at 11 a.m. and Dell at noon.
My, my, my, what a big wireless router you have. I don’t actually think it can launch missiles (well, I don’t think it’s part of the out-of-the-box experience anyway), but it sure looks like it should be able to.
The $299 AirStation Wireless-N Nfiniti Dual-Band Router and Access Point concurrently supports 802.11a/b/g and the IEEE 802.11n draft specification. It’s Microsoft Vista certified, has a built-in auto-sensing 4-port 10/100/1000 Gigabit switch and packs the company’s AirStation One-Touch Secure System (AOSS) for setting up a secure high-speed wireless network in two shakes of a lamb’s tail. It’s basically every bit of wireless-networking technology Buffalo has jammed into one box. There’s a $129 USB notebook adapter, too, that looks like the antenna on the router, just smaller.
They also dropped a couple consumer network attached storage drives: The LinkStation Live available in capacities of 250GB (HS-DH250GL; $229), 320GB (HS-DH320GL; $249), 500GB (HS-DH500GL; $349) and 750GB (HS-DH750GL; $749?) and the TeraStation Live is available in capacities of 1TB (HS-DH1.0TGL/R5; $699) and 2TB (HS-DH2.0TGL/R5; $1,299). You can use them as iTunes servers for direct access to music stored on the devices and you can store photos and videos directly from a digital camera. And they’re all DLNA’d (Digital Living Network Alliance) up so they’ll work with other devices, computers, etc. that meet the DLNA standards for interoperability in your “digital home.” There’s a new LinkTheater Wireless-A/G Media Player, too. You can read more about it here.
I’m off to hit Dell’s suites now. Fortunately they didn’t have too much going on this year, so things go fast. First stop is to look at a couple new displays including the $1,399 27-inch 2707WFP LCD monitor with a 1,920×1,200 resolution. I liked their 30-inch 3007WFP model, but I would buy the 27-inch instead now. Great picture, excellent ergonomics, ports and inputs, and damn, it looks nice from the back. Instead of plastic, it has a brushed aluminum chassis with a metallic bezelled glass base. Yes, you can buy two smaller LCDs with “higher” resolutions, but that doesn’t mean the quality of build or picture is better.
While Dell’s newest gaming desktop, the XPS 710 H2C, was announced at CES, it’s not the first time I saw it. I haven’t tested one yet, but I hasten to say it’s the best gaming box/performance system they’ve built to date. Good design. Big, solid build. All the components available for great gaming (including overclocked graphics and CPU). And now, thanks to CoolIT, quiet liquid cooling. I would sooner buy the 710 H2C than an Alienware, that’s for damn sure.
Well, I head off to the Venetian/Sands Expo Center now, so check back for the second half of my day later on.