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Category Archives: Hardware

Corsair Flash Padlock 2 Secure Flash Drive Reviewed. Verdict: Hurray for Hardened Security


By Ian Chiu

Some time ago, Corsair debuted their numeric padlock flash drive that allowed end users to unlock the storage by entering a four to ten digit PIN code. The obvious advantage of this implementation is to bypass software altogether, easily making it cross-platform friendly. However, the original version was hacked effortlessly by a group of dutch engineers armed with a simple 10K resistor.

To regain trust among consumers and lost reputation, Corsair is now back with Flash Padlock 2, and this time, the company didn’t take any chance by equipping the drive with 256-bit AES hardware encryption. Corsair also covers the components with epoxy compound to make it tamperproof; otherwise, the PCB would be exposed and likely be prone to hacking. In the performance department, you can expect the secure flash drive to hover around 17MB/s during read and 8MB/s during write. The Flash Padlock 2 is a bit weak in terms of small file write though, and it only comes in 8GB. Read on for the full review to check out all the extra security measures Corsair implemented to make drive safer.

[ Everything USB - Corsair Flash Padlock 2 Review ]

Seagate BlackArmor PS 110 USB 3.0 Drive Kit Reviewed. Verdict: USB 3.0 Should Have Come Sooner

By Ian Chiu

[ The following article is syndicated with permission from Everything USB ]

USB 3.0 is here. While not everyone has immediately hopped on the bandwagon yet, several major motherboard and storage manufacturers have been actively pushing out SuperSpeed USB devices, and one of them is Seagate BlackArmor PS 110 Performance Kit. Bearing an ambitious name, the BlackArmor PS 110 is one of the industry’s first portable USB 3.0 2.5″ drives. The kit – backed by a generous 5-year warranty – comprises of a 7,200-rpm 500GB drive that now becomes the performance bottleneck instead of the USB interface; a single-port USB 3.0 ExpressCard/34 card; an auxiliary power cable; and a backup software suite.

Obviously, what makes this drive so special is the speed. The on-board USB 3.0-to-SATA bridge chip boosts average performance to consistently high between 60 to 95MB/s. This is up from 30MB/s range registered by USB 2.0 FreeAgent Go. A review by Everything USB confirmed that the BlackArmor PS 110 USB 3.0 is indeed the bottleneck as a 3.5″ 1TB drive inside a WD My Book 3.0 easily bumped speed even further to 110MB/s. Keep in mind BlackArmor PS 110 3.0 is only first generation product. So it could take a year or two before the potential of USB 3.0 is fully realized. Read on for the full review for all the benchmark data and usability test results.

[ Seagate BlackArmor PS 110 USB 3.0 Review @ Everything USB ]

iVideoCamera Adds Video Capabilities to Old iPhones

ivideocamera-199x300 By Gaurav Kheterpal

Before the iPhone 3GS was launched, Apple drew a lot of flak from its customers over the lack of video capabilities. Though the iPhone 3GS came out with the best in its class video capabilities, old iPhone users were still disgruntled about the lack of video on their phones.

Although not the only such app (we’re thinking Qik as well), and it’s been out for a bit… but you might want to know that Apple has given its blessings to iVideoCamera – an iTunes Store app that can add video capabilities to any iPhone – new or old. iVideoCamera can shoot short videos, save them on your iPhone and even export the videos to popular websites like Facebook and YouTube. You can also change the point of focus during recording, something the native 3GS application can’t do. While the video quality of iVideoCamera is no match to that of iPhone 3GS, it is reasonably good at 320 x 426 and a recording rate of 10 frames per second.

After all, some video is better than no video at all on your old iPhone.

[ Laan Labs ] VIA [ Geeky Gadgets ]

The Apple Tablet – Steve’s Best Job?

stevejobs By Gaurav Kheterpal

The red carpet has been rolled out for the most important launch of year 2010 – the Apple Tablet. In a recent statement, Apple’s CEO Steve Jobs has said “[The Apple Tablet] will be the most important thing I’ve ever done”. Coming from the man behind the iPhone and the iPod, this is a strong message and perhaps a sign of Apple’s heavyweight expectations for its due-to-be-launched-soon Apple Tablet or iSlate (as Internet rumors name it). 

Apple has closely guarded the tablet’s specs and it’s well worth doing that for a product which is slated to be a game changer!

Apple ] VIA [ TechCrunch ]

Mophie Juice Pack Air Reviewed. Verdict: Cures iPhone Battery Woes

By Ian Chiu

Mophie Juice Pack Air iPhone Battery

The iPhone 3G may be as powerful as a netbook or a Sega Dreamcast, but that doesn’t help improve the device’s battery life. For those who are displeased with this fact, there are already plenty of battery extenders which may alleviate the problem as long as you remember to bring them with you. It does seem somewhat inconvenient to carry an extra accessory around, so Mophie has made Juice Pack Air – an add-on battery pack that doubles duty as an iPhone case.

Encased in the Juice Pack Air is a 1,200mAh Li-polymer battery that is rechargeable through its micro-USB jack – the de facto interface for cellphone charging. The Juice Pack Air does add bulk to the phone, but the tradeoff is worth the additional 5.4 hours of Wi-Fi, 4.5 hours 3G data transfer and an equal amount of talk time. Everything USB recently reviewed the battery extender case hybrid, and found it to be a lifesaver for serious iPhone 3G and 3GS users alike. It can take a 20% remaining iPhone 3G back up to nearly 100% in one short hour. The reviewer was impressed by the build quality as well as the glossy finish which is only about as scratch resistant as the curved back of iPhone 3G. He did however point out the Juice Pack Air’s inability to power the iPhone without recharging it. This means your iPhone 3G couldn’t draw on the Juice Pack Air’s external power directly to save some of its internal battery charging cycles.

[ Mophie Juice Pack Air Battery Extender for iPhone Review @ Everything USB ]

Logitech G19 Gaming Keyboard Reviewed. Verdict: Worth Dropping Two Benjamins

Gaming keyboards have come a long way since the original G15. All the G-keys and the use of LCD to show player stats are ingenious additions that have become an indispensable tool for WoW fans, hardcore CoD4 players, and macro-happy gamers. Since then the market has definitely saturated. (Even MS has two gaming keyboards.)

Despite the stiff competition, Logitech hasn’t lost its edge. The new G19 gaming keyboard is the first major upgrade since the G15 revision. Improvements to the Logitech’s flagship product include full color LCD (including YouTube and VLC compatibility); intuitive creation of powerful macros; support for six simultaneous keypresses; customizable key backlighting; and two self-powered USB 2.0 jacks. Impressive features demand high price and higher power requirement, which is why the G19 costs $200 and why the G19 is the first gaming keyboard that needs an AC adapter (warning: bulky). Everything USB’s reviewer is so impressed with the G19 that any hardcore gamers with $200 to spare should run out and get one. Those who don’t take fragging too seriously should really look elsewhere.

[ Logitech G19 Gaming Keyboard Review @ Everything USB ]

Econo-Keys Reversible Keyboard Debuts

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By Shane McGlaun

I have been traveling with my notebook many times and wished I had an external keyboard with me. This happens even more frequently now that I use a netbook with an even smaller keyboard and a tiny track pad.

Econo-Keys has announced a new portable keyboard called the EK-76-TP that offers 76 keys including 12 function keys in a small keyboard measuring in at 8.91-inches x 3.54-inches x 0.38-inch. The keyboard is also rugged and is sealed to IP67 standards making it resistant to dirt, dust, and water.

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Pioneer Electronics Unveils Three Blu-ray Players

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By Shane McGlaun

Every now and again, someone I know will ask me what Blu-ray player they should buy to go along with their new TV. I always tell them to get the PS3 because I think it’s one of the best Blu-ray players out there. I had a guy tell me he didn’t want video games in his house the other day and preferred a stand-alone Blu-ray player to the PS3.

For people who feel the same way Pioneer has launched a trio of new Blu-ray players including the Elite BDP-23FD, the BDP-120, and the BDP-320 models. The 23FD is aimed at the professional integrator looking for a player with full control capability for integrating into high-end home theaters. It includes a special KURO Link Picture Mode and a precision quartz lock system that helps prevent playback jitters. The 23FD sells for $599.Continue Reading

Features of HDMI Specification 1.4 Revealed

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By Shane McGlaun

It hasn’t been too long now since HDMI specification 1.3 came on the market and it’s already time for another specification to drop. I am glad to see that the HDMI Licensing company doesn’t sit on its laurels when it comes to adding new features to HDMI.

The full specification is due to be available for download no later than June 30, 2009. Until we can see the full specification, we do know a few of the features that HDMI 1.4 will offer. One of the most interesting is an HDMI Ethernet channel that allows HDMI connected devices to communicate at 100Mbps without needing another cable. An audio return channel is also featured in the spec along with support for 3D over HDMI.

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