Inspecting gadgets

ACN rounds up the latest and greatest executive gadgets, from the last word in hand-held devices to the hottest new monitors.

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By  Brid-Aine Conway Published  December 17, 2007

ACN rounds up the latest and greatest executive gadgets, from the last word in hand-held devices to the hottest new monitors.

Samsung 225UW Monitor

Samsung's newest flat-screen monitor is being marketed by the company as "The Ultimate Communication Station". Quite the contention, given the range of new video-conferencing solutions on the market available for individual and group use, but it is certainly a sleek looking machine with all the accessories necessary to make the claim.

The 225UW is a personal communication device, housing a 2.0 megapixel webcam, two array microphones and a hidden stereo speaker. The monitor itself is a 22 inch clear TN Panel screen which runs natively at 1680x1050 resolution at 60 Hz and a brightness of 300 cd/m², with a contrast ratio of 700:1.

Given the choice of colour is "high glossy black", it basically looks like a swanky television and it can, of course, be wall-mounted if desired, a feature which is probably more of an advantage for home use rather than in the office.

The 225UW is certified for use with Windows Vista Premium (whether or not this is a good thing remains to be seen) and includes MS Office Communicator Server 2007 (again, one wonders).

Presumably though, the 225UW is "ultimate" because it doesn't require any special drivers and is awash with USB compatibilities - video, cables and head-sets. Oh, and maybe because it's pretty as well.

Nokia 500 Auto Navigation

The latest personal navigation device (PND) from Nokia is its first handsfree device, designed for in-car navigation and communication.

The communication bit comes from the fact that it is also a Bluetooth handsfree kit for compatible mobile phones - quite handy.

There's nothing terribly exciting or new in this PND, apart from a nifty feature that allows you to receive contact details for points of interest (PoIs) on your route.

The device has a 4.3 inch colour screen, turn-by-turn voice instructions and PoIs and the like flagged on the pre-installed maps. There's also a split-screen interface which gives you additional information to help you get where you're going.

It's available here in January and there's expected to be a Q4 release in Europe. The usual problems apply though, in that "Map coverage will match the needs of the respective target markets" according to the press release. Which basically means that the pre-installed regional maps may or may not be adequate to your navigational needs.

HTC Touch Dual

Joining the Touch family and available in the Middle East since early November is the Touch Dual.

This is essentially the original HTC Touch, with the addition of a slide out keypad. The phone features HTC's TouchFlo interface, which is HTC's name for its touch screen controls. This version now sports the ability to view photo slideshows using on-screen controls and to zoom and rotate images with one hand.

The big draws for the Touch Dual in comparison to the older Touch is the keypad and the 3.5G HSDPA connectivity. The keypad comes in conventional 12-key format and will also be available with a 20-key QWERTY layout much like RIM's Blackberry Pearl.

3.5G answers the prayers of all those who thought the Touch should come with 3G connectivity, but it comes with a price. The Dual ousts the Wi-Fi connection - a bizarre move unlikely to go down well with the fans.

Other features include a 2 megapixel camera, 2.6 inch QVGA touch screen, 256Mbytes of flash memory and 128Mbytes of RAM, and a 1100 mAH battery which offers up to 360 minutes of talk time.

ASUS Eee PC

The miniscule Eee PC is coming to the Middle East in the first quarter of 2008. Stocks of the 7 inch screen, 890g ultra mobile PC (UMPC) for other markets appear to be severely depleted, Amazon.com and Buy.com are definitely out and potential users who like to chat on the internet are ordering the PC in advance as it is out of stock at outlets near them.

All the fuss is about a 4GByte UMPC with only 3.5 hours of battery life - hard to see it as "ultra" mobile if it can only be used for about half of any respectable journey time. Having said that, the charger is apparently about the size of a Nokia phone charger and so it isn't too much of a burden to carry around.

The Eee is designed to be user-friendly out of the box. It's pre-packaged with Linux (although it is XP compatible), starts in Asus' own front end - icons grouped in categories with each category on a tab - and a thorough software bundle is included, featuring software like Skype, Firefox, OpenOffice and Acrobat Reader.

All the necessary ports are present: three USB, ethernet, VGA, audio, SD card and modem. For connectivity, the Eee uses Wi-Fi although rumours of a possible 3G module upgrade are all over the internet. With a built-in webcam and speakers, this is a neat little machine, but it's important to note that it's a portable device, not a replacement laptop.

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