Onkyo TX-SR606 AV Receiver Coming Soon

OnkyoTXSR606Remote Onkyo have recently released some of their new AV Amps including the TX-SR506E and the TX-SR576E. Both these units include 7.1 Surround Sound,1080P video switching with 3 HDMI inputs, Dolby Digital Plus encoded audio and a long list of other features to keep any Home Cinema fan happy.

However they are also releasing the new TX-SR606 shortly with some online retailers already taking pre-orders. The 606 is a revamp of the award winning TX-SR605 but rather than just a little tweak here and there they seem to of made it the best AV amp ever when looking at the price and functionality.

The TX-SR606 specs include:

  • 7.1 receiver
  • 1.3a HDMI Switching (4 IN, 1 OUT)
  • Up-conversion of all video inputs to HDMI
  • Up-scaling of all video inputs to 1080i
  • 3 component inputs, 1 component output
  • Bi-Amping Capability for Enhanced Musicality and Power
  • 140 watts at 6 ohms
  • Powered Zone 2 audio output
  • Audyssey 2EQ room calibration
  • Auto Setup, via plug- in mic
  • 5 digital inputs (3 optical, 2 coaxial)
  • Music optimizer for compressed music
  • DTS-HD, DTS-HD Master Audio, Dolby digital plus and Dolby TrueHD decoders
  • Dolby Pro Logic IIx, Dolby Digital and DTS decoders
  • Dolby Digital EX and complete DTS-ES
  • 24-bit/192 kHz DACs for all channels

Onkyo have managed to pack in all the above functionality at a price of £399! Previously if you wanted upscaling on an Onkyo you had to go with their TX-SR875 model or higher with the 875 costing £999. Granted the 875 upscaled to 1080p however at a price difference of £600 I will live without it. Another big improvement over the 605 is that they have increased the HDMI inputs from 2 to 4 which should handle all your HDs sources and some.

If you need any other inputs/outputs the unit also has:

  • 4 S-Video Inputs and 2 Outputs
  • 5 A/V Inputs and 1 Output
  • 2 Audio Inputs and 1 Output

Overall it seems almost too good to be true. From what I have read on Onkyo I have heard they run very hot and they are also very large (the 606 is WHD: 435 x 174.3 x 374.7 mm and 11.6 kg) but if you are looking for a midrange AV system I doubt this will be beaten easily.

Some pictures after the jump.

Read more

Everex Cloudbook vs Asus EEE PC

Ok so the ASUS Eee PC has been out for a little while, and Everex are planning to ship the “Cloudbook” UMPC shortly (release date was supposed to be 25/01/08). The Cloudbook appears to be aiming at the  Eee PC market but how do the two UMPCs compare to each other? Asus Eee PC 4G … Read more

MacBook Air Details

macbook-air Ok so I am about 10 years too late blogging about the MacBook Air, but it is pretty big news so I am going to blog about it anyway. So what is the MacBook Air? It is a ultrathin, ultraportable laptop with a 13.3 inch widescreen.

From Apple.com

MacBook Air is nearly as thin as your index finger. Practically every detail that could be streamlined has been. Yet it still has a 13.3-inch widescreen LED display, full-size keyboard and large multi-touch trackpad. It’s incomparably portable without the usual ultraportable screen and keyboard compromises.

The incredible thinness of MacBook Air is the result of numerous size- and weight-shaving innovations. From a slimmer hard drive to strategically hidden I/O ports to a lower-profile battery, everything has been considered and reconsidered with thinness in mind.

MacBook Air is designed and engineered to take full advantage of the wireless world. A world in which 802.11n Wi-Fi is now so fast and so available, people are truly living untethered — buying music and TV shows online, downloading software, and sharing and storing files on the web.

Some of the key features include:

  • 13.3″ backlit LED with 1280-by-800 resolution
  • 2GB of RAM
  • 80Gig hardrive
  • or 64GB solid-state drive (very expensive)
  • 1.6GHz or 1.8GHz Intel Core 2 Duo
  • Built-in iSight camera
  • 5hrs Battery
  • Oversize trackpad with multi-touch technology
  • 1 USB Port
  • Headphone Jack
  • Micro-DVI

There is no CD/DVD drive built in to keep the size down, though a USB powered external drive will apparently be available.

The batter is not user replaceable but it is apparently possible to pay for a factory fitted battery for you. Apple are quoting $129, I would expect it will be a bit more here in the UK.

In order to reduce the size of the laptop it has been reported that Intel have used the Montevina based chip that was scheduled to be launched later this year. Combined with the Intel 965GMS chipset with integrated graphics the chip has had a 60% reduction on its footprint size. The power rating of the chip is just 20W, as opposed to 35W from the Core 2 Duo

Some more pictures after the jump.

Read more

Hacked EeePC includes GPS, Bluetooth, WiFi Etc

Eee_overview_complete Hacking your EeePC is becoming a bit of a geek hobby at the moment, and this hacked EeePC has to be the ultimate of them all. This hacked EeePC has been documented over at IVC Wiki and takes hacking your EeePC to a new level.

The upgrades include USB hubs, GPS Module, Bluetooth, SDHC reader, WiFi, FM transmittor, modem and a 2 GB DDR2 module.

The cost? Well not that cheap really.

  • USB hubs – 11.20 USD
  • GPS module – 36.70 USD
  • Bluetooth – 5.65 USD
  • SDHC card reader – 6.45 USD
  • Adata SDHC 8 GB – 74.50 USD
  • Corsair VoyagerGT 4 GB USB drive – 90.94 USD
  • Switch + Prototypingboards – 2.66 + 30.10 USD
  • Intel Wireless adapter – 62.69 USD
  • Airplay FM transmitter – 14.98 USD
  • Conexant Modem – 11.89 USD
  • Crucial 2 GB DDR2 module – 106.62 USD

Totaling 454.38 USD which included the shipping to Europe. More Pictures after the jump or go to IVC for a detailed run down of the mod.

Read more

Xbox 360 Sales reach 17.7 Million

Microsoft have been having a lot of problems recently with its live service however it has not stopped them selling a whole load of 360s during the Christmas break. Apparantly the company has shipped 17.7 Million Xbox 360 Consoles since its launch 2 years ago. On September 30 the figure was apparently at 13.4 million … Read more

nVidia GeForce 8800 GTS 512MB Launches

We previously announced that nVidia was about to launch the new 8800 GTS 512Mb after nVidia accidentally added it to there product page. As of today nVidia has officially launched the card. As with the new 8800 GT this card is this card is based on the G92 architecture which uses a 65nm fabrication process. … Read more

LG Viewty KU990 Phone Review

lg-viewty-ku990-289-75 Recently I was asked to review the LG Viewty KU990 which I happily accepted. Over the past few days I have been using it as my main phone in order to find all the good and bad features about it as possible. I had previously used the phone for a few minutes and was quite impressed with it so I was looking forward to trying it out.

Initial thoughts

First of all I have heard a lot of people moan about the phones name. I don’t really see what is wrong with it, ok it probably isn’t the greatest name in the world but lets compare it to the other phone I use, the MDA Vario II (TyTn, SPV M3100 etc etc), that is defiantly no better plus it have about 4 other pseudonyms. Nokia has N95, E65, N73, 7373, Nokia 8800 Sirocco Edition, etc while they may be useful names for people in the know, if I told my girlfriend I just got a new N810 she would look at me blankly and tell me to shut up. I’m no marketing expert but I assume LG want people to easily remember and identify the phone, and Viewty is a lot easier to remember than KU990.

When the phone arrived I was surprised how small the packaging was, it is supplied in a nice matt black box with all the accessories compartmentalised into smaller black boxes. The phone itself is very good looking with an all black body and silver edges. It is clear that LG are marketing this phone towards the style conscious, and I would go go so far to say it is one of the better looking phones in the market today.

5897-KU9902

The Viewty is rather large at 103.5mm tall, 54mm wide and 14.8mm thick but it is actually lighter than the smaller proportioned LG Shine at 112g and 119g respectively. However it is large for a reason, the phone comes with a 3.0 inch touch screen which occupies the majority of the front of the phone. It manages to display 262 thousand colours at 240 x 400 pixels. The large screen is obviously one of the main selling points of the phone with the majority the functions accessible via the touch screen interface.

On using the touch screen you will notice the phone provides vibration feedback, or haptic feedback as it is more formally known. Haptic technology refers to technology that provides feedback using the sense of touch. While it seems insignificant I really like haptic feedback, it basically replicates the push button feedback you receive from physical buttons and in doing so it improves the usability of the device.

The other feature that is noticeable when using the Viewty is that sweeping the finger across the screen is heavily used for navigation around the phone. Basically you use your finger to sweep through lists like text messages or emails. It took a little getting used to but it is quite intuitive so you should be sweeping through your emails in no time.

200x150_1 On the back side of the phone you have an impressive 5-megapixel camera, though this is not protected by a lens cover. The camera uses a xenon flash which should help provide decent photos in the darkest situations. There is also a weird little rocker on the side of the lens. At first I thought it was just for zoom, but after reading another review I found that it is used for in-call volume, and scrolling through menus as well.

On the right hand side of the phone there is a dedicated unlock key, which also acts as one of the camera keys. There is also the main camera key and a switch to switch between the various camera modes.

Performance

Call Quality.

While I found the call quality fine on my end there did seem to be some distortion and muffling on the other end, I tested the phone with an LG shine and a MDA Vario II. I personally didn’t think it was bad enough to hold against the phone but my girlfriend did complain a little. The loudspeaker is excellent, you can clearly hear people and I would say the loudspeaker quality was better than average. I did not try the video calling, I still find video calling rather gimmicky and to be honest I am not that interested in seeing the callers face as I speak to them.

Messaging / Interface

lg-ku990 I have a tendency to text more than I phone, so I was expecting this area to be the biggest let down of the phone. There are 3 main interface options when texting. There is the usual T9 keypad, handwriting recognition and an onscreen keyboard.

As with most phones I have tried with handwriting recognition it is pretty poor. Most likely due to the fact my writing is appalling but it was basically unusable for myself, it would recognise the odd word but the majority would be completely wrong.

While I expected the onscreen keyboard to be too small to use I was quite impressed, it recognised the majority of keys I pressed and I was able to text reasonably fast on it. Unfortunately after a while I did find that I was hitting the wrong key a little too often for my liking and I resorted to the T9.

The T9 text input was perfectly fine, with the haptic feedback it was just as easy as typing on a real phone pad.

Camera

The camera on the phone was good, the pictures were clear and a xenon flash is infinitely better than an LED flash. The only minor problem I had was the response time between pressing the button to take the picture and the phone actually taking the picture was not as fast as I would like. The camera should provide a more than adequate substitute to a dedicated camera if needed.

The phone also has the ability to record video up to 120fps. 120fps is defiantly a bit of a gimmick but it is quite fun to record things in slow motion.

Email – Web

viewty I normally use exchange for my email but was forced into setting up Pop3 for email on the phone. If you have a ISP provided email address than you need to make sure you have a proper SMTP server to be able to send emails. I was impressed with the email though; it was quite fast thanks to the HSDPA (3.5G) and was easy to read through thanks to the scrolling system.

Web browsing was also good thanks to the HSDPA and the nice large screen. The browser was superb; you view full size WebPages and sweep around using your finger.

There is no Wi-Fi on the phone, though this is not a huge issue for me as I rarely use it. I am on Web and Walk so I always connect via HSDPA.

I also found the modem function to be excellent. Once you install the LG software you need to select which service provider you use and click connect. That’s about all you have to do. In comparison I found connecting with my MDA Vario much more of a chore.

Music

The phone only comes with 90Mb of internal memory but it is upgradable via MicroSD. To listen to the music you must use the earphone adapter provided with the phone, this adapter also acts as the hands free microphone and radio aerial.

The music player was easy to use and the sound quality of the provided earphones was adequate. I did not have any higher quality earphones to hand as my V-Modas broke so I am unable to give a more accurate opinion on the sound quality provided from the phone.

I did not test the radio extensively but I managed to pick up radio 1 with little effort and it was quite clear.

I did find on 2 occasions the music randomly stopped playing, and the phone informed me that the files were corrupt. To amend this I had to remove the MicroSD card and insert it again which is quite frustrating as it required me to remove the back plate and battery first.

I would also have liked the phone to come with a proper 3.5mm headset socket built into it to negate the need of the hand free adaptor. Unfortunately this is a common problem with many phones.

Battery

LG quotes talk time battery life at 355 minutes using GSM only and 233 minutes using 3G only, and standby time at 434 hours using GSM and 454 hours using 3G. I didn’t really pay that much attention to it but I have charged it twice in about 4 days and I have used it quite a bit. Heavy browsing or music use will obviously require more battery charged.

Other points.

The phone managed to synch with my outlook very easily which is handy as I use exchange to manage most of my life.

The stylus is stupid, it looks like mascara. If LG want to include a stylus why didn’t they let it slide inside the phone?

The touch screen does get a bit mucky, but at the end of the day it is a touch screen what else do you expect.

Good Points Bad Points
Great looking phone Touch Screen get mucky
Best touch screen I have used No Camera Lens
Good camera / Flash No Wi Fi
HSDPA / Good Browser and Email Stupid looking stylus

Conclusion

I am a geek so I typically chose function over form and go for Symbian/WM based phones. However this phone has impressed me, it does all the functions I require out of a phone and it does them well. It is also a very good looking phone so will keep even the most style conscious person happy.

The camera is not as great as a standalone camera but it is very good for a phone camera and should satisfy most people.

While the phone is probably not the best phone in the world for my requirements it is good enough for me to retire my MDA Vario II and use the Viewty as my full time phone until I find an adequate replacement.

Phone Specification from LG after the jump.

The LG Viewty is available from Vodafone on pay monthly plans from £20

Read more

Page 232 of 235
1 230 231 232 233 234 235