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Category: Reviews

NOOKstudy Wants to Be the Future of the Classroom: Hands On

When Barnes & Noble announced NOOKstudy a few weeks back, we were cautiously optimistic that it was an early salvo in the war on traditional textbooks. We were "really excited, less about NOOKstudy itself than for the future that it portends." Well, NOOKstudy has hit the Web, and we've given it a good once over. Does it fulfill the hype? Or, does it at least offer a tantalizing glimpse at the...

Barnes & Noble Nook E-Reader Reviewed, Yawns Abound

We've seen the Barnes & Noble Nook in the news quite a bit lately -- and not necessarily for the right reasons, either, after its pre-holiday release was postponed to a decidedly post-holiday January 11th. A few lucky pre-orderers will get their Nooks today, but very few have had enough time with the gadgets to write reviews. The results? Positive, but not exactly a perfect machine. While...

Is the Leica M9 Worth the Hype?

HYPE CHECK Leica M9 Digital Rangefinder Camera What it is: The cult of Leica originated in the '40s, when Henri Cartier-Bresson and the Magnum photographers first brought the so-called "decisive moment" into the cultural consciousness. Their startlingly immediate images of street life, war, and people are as fresh today as they were the day they were snapped. The weapon of choice for this...

Motorola DROID: The Reviews Are In

Motorola's DROID may be the largest threat to Apple's stranglehold on the smartphone market to date, and for good reason. Available starting tomorrow for $199 (with a minimum $70 voice and data monthly plan), the DROID offers lots to like: a sturdy, angular, all-black design; a crystal clear, high-resolution display (854 by 480 pixels); a faster, 550MHz-rated processor; the next-generation...

Is 'DJ Hero' Worth the Hype?

HYPE CHECK 'DJ Hero' What it is: Until now, rock-and-roll has dominated the rhythm-action gaming charts. 'Rock Band' and 'Guitar Hero' both provide amazing experiences for guitars-and-drums jams, but don't really address either hip hop or dance music (i.e., electronic music). Activision has tried to remedy this situation with its newest 'Hero' game, aptly titled 'DJ Hero.' Just as...

Is the Sony PSP Go Worth the Hype?

HYPE CHECK Sony PSPGo What it is: Sony's third crack at creating the ultimate handheld gaming system. PSP Go takes what Sony has accomplished with the PlayStation Portable (PSP) and squeezes it into a significantly smaller form factor, and embraces a whole new approach to getting games onto the device. Sporting graphics output roughly equivalent to that of the PlayStation 2 (if not better...

Is the Zune HD Better Than the iPod?

Hype Check: Zune HD What it is: You've no doubt heard of Zune -- Microsoft's much-hyped personal media player (PMP) -- but you may not have seen much of it. Unfortunately for Microsoft, the device hasn't exactly caught on with the mainstream, with Apple's iPod (not to mention iPhone) still dominating the space. Zune HD is the Zune's third iteration and it comes in 16 -gigabyte (GB) and 32GB...

Keep Track of Your Multiple Twitter Friends With TweetDeck

TweetDeck What it does: TweetDeck is a client for the burgeoning micro-blogging / social networking service, Twitter. In addition to basic functions like updating your status and delivering your friends' Tweets, the app offers a host of advanced features that make it the client of choice among the seriously Twitter addicted. What we like about it: For one, TweetDeck works on almost any...

Switched Download: Handbrake Rips DVDs for iPhones, Other Devices

Handbrake What it does: Handbrake converts DVDs and other videos into formats for easy sharing between your computers or loading onto a portable device or console. What we like about it: Handbrake is dead simple to use, with one-click presets that format for the iPod, the iPhone and iPod Touch, Apple TV, PSP, PS3, and Xbox 360. But power users can access advanced controls to fine-tune...

Best iPod-Enabled Alarm Clock Radio: Cambridge Soundworks i765

A reader writes: I want a decent-sounding audiophile table radio that can not only handle my iPod, but also wake me up in the morning! The Bose Wave radio II looks nice, but I'm not sure I want to spend more than $300 on this. Just tell me what to get! Sure, Bose's Wave radio II sounds great, but do you really want to shell out $350 for a high-end clock radio that doesn't interface directly...

Songbird: the Firefox of Music Managers

Songbird What it does: Songbird aims to do for media managers what Firefox did for Web browsers: trounce the standard bearer (iTunes, in this case) with customization, open-source ideology, and sheer performance. Actually built on the same codebase as Firefox, Songbird allows you to manage your music collection, buy songs, and load audio on your iPod. What we like about it: Songbird is the...

Hokey Snake-Oil Gadgets Claim to Keep Ghosts and Bad Vibes Away

Famed humorist H.L. Mencken, or maybe it was cartoonist Scott Adams, supposedly once said: "Never underestimate the stupidity of the American public." While we would never insult our intelligent readers like that, gullibility does seem to run rampant among Americans, particularly when we are acting as consumers. For centuries, so-called snake oil salesmen and traveling medicine shows have...

Hype Check: Verizon Hub

HYPE CHECK: Verizon Hub What it is: The Hub is a VoIP (Voice over IP) home smartphone: Picture your normal home phone and add a 7-inch touch screen, Internet connectivity, and an interface similar to your computer's desktop complete with icons and widgets. Why it's different: While the Hub reminds us of the iriver Wave Home announced at this year's Consumer Electronics Show, the...

Adult Film Star Jesse Lee Picks the Sexiest Cell Phones of 2008

They're sleek, they've got buttons and they vibrate: What's not sexy about a cell phone? From the LG Chocolate 3 to the BlackBerry Storm to the iPhone, 2008's most hyped handsets are something about which BurningAngel's Jessie Lee has some strong opinions. In the words of Switched.com's video producer Benjamin Chertoff, "I've finally directed a film that truly helps better society -- and humanity...

Hands-On Review: i2i Stream Wireless Music

Ever wish you could make any audio setup wireless? We checked out the i2i Stream wireless audio system that essentially takes the place of a cord and allows you to stream audio from nearly any source. The kit comes with two combination transmitter/receiver devices and when you want to make a music source wireless, you simply connect the output to one of these small devices using the included...