New gear

PUBLISHED : Monday, 24 January, 2005, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 24 January, 2005, 12:00am

On trackThe Walkman, Sony's iconic portable music player, has received a critical makeover. The new NW-HD3 model is the first hard disk Network Walkman to offer native MP3 support. The 20-gigabyte device also plays back digital audio files based on Sony's proprietary Atrac3 and Atrac3plus formats. Available in four colours, priced at $2,998 and with a lightweight aluminium case, the NW-HD3 can hold the equivalent of 13,000 tracks, or 900 CDs of music with traditional Chinese title display. It comes with SonicStage 2.3 software, which allows music to be compressed at 256 kilobits per second for close to CD quality sound and to manage play lists.

Fast print
With business picking up in Hong Kong, companies are likely to crank up their high-volume office printing systems. Fuji Xerox Printers says it has the right product to meet this demand: the Phaser 5500 A3 monochrome printer. Powered by a 500-megahertz processor and with 128-megabyte standard memory, the Phaser 5500 ensures fast print speed at 50 impressions per minute and smooth processing of complex applications with graphics, images and charts. At full speed, it has a first-page-out time of three seconds and maintains 1,200x1,200 dots per inch print resolution. Priced at $22,888, the Phaser 5500 provides an engine life of three million impressions to go the distance.

Top value
Hewlett-Packard's pitch for its new Compaq Presario M2000 series notebook computer is an old one: value for money. But the good news is that HP delivers. M2000 prices start at $7,280 and these machines sport features typically found in more expensive, high-end laptop models. Weighing about 2.91kg, the new Presario has an Intel Celeron M 1.4-gigahertz processor, Wi-fi connectivity, Microsoft's Windows XP Home Edition operating system, a 15-inch display, a 40-gigabyte hard drive, a combination DVD/CD rewriteable drive, an integrated six-in-one memory reader slot and 256 megabytes of memory that can be upgraded to two gigabytes. For work or play, those bells and whistles should be good enough.

Voice activated
If speech-to-text dictation on mobile phones catches on, users might want to avoid saying: 'Oops! I did it again'. The p207 phone, which GSM network operator Cingular Wireless will offer in the United States this quarter, represents a new line of voice activation-ready, high-end handsets, which Samsung Electronics plans to launch in key markets this year. Samsung's voice-activated technologies, VoiceMode and QuickPhrase, allow users to quickly address a message then use their voice to create text, providing a virtually hands-free and eyes-free short messaging setup.

Get inspired
Can a notebook computer inspire creativity? Dell's new Inspiron 6000 may well have the multimedia and productivity features to help motivate its users. With prices starting from $9,299, the Inspiron 6000 offers enhanced film playback with its 15.4-inch widescreen display. Users can easily navigate through their entire MP3 music library via the backlit front-and-centre multimedia keys. There is a full range of connectivity ports, including a Secure Digital memory card slot, to speed up the transfer of digital content to and from electronic devices such as digital cameras, portable music and media players, and cellular handsets. It also comes with a range of Intel chipsets and processors to run a variety of entertainment or business software.

Right thinking
IBM's ThinkPad notebook PCs, introduced in 1992, have been widely recognised as industry models for design and engineering. This year, the new ThinkPad T43 is expected to raise the bar on secure business computing. It features Rescue and Recovery 2.0 with Antidote Delivery Manager, a set of software tools contained in an embedded, pre-boot emergency system. This is said to provide one-button relief from a broad range of common PC problems, even if the main operating system has already been corrupted by a worm or virus. It also helps a user retrieve and install virus updates quickly, or have the PCs swiftly removed from the corporate network. The T43 will be available in Hong Kong in early March.