Welcome to the 411, my column answering all your questions about cell phones and cell phone accessories. I receive plenty of questions about these subjects via e-mail, so I figured many of you might have similar queries, too. At times, I might solicit answers from readers if I'm stumped. Send your questions and comments to me at email@example.com. If you prefer to remain anonymous, let me know in the e-mail.
Drafting off the news that Amazon will release a $139 Kindle, Copia has revealed that it will sell a 5-inch color e-reader this fall for $99. The device has a color LCD and will tap into Copia's upcoming community-based e-reading platform, which is now in beta testing.
I got an early look at the Copia platform last year, and while it looked impressive, we've yet to see any devices emerge from the company and we're still waiting for the platform to launch after already being delayed a few months.
Copia, a subsidiary of DMC Worldwide, plans to … Read more
Update: In statements made to Laptop Magazine, Augen's CEO Gary Gofman claims that the unauthorized inclusion of the Google Android Marketplace app on the Gentouch78 tablet was an unintentional mistake, and future production runs will not include the Google Mobile Services Application Suite. So yes, it was too good to be true.
When I heard that Kmart is selling a $149 Android tablet with a 7-inch screen, I have to admit that I blew it off with a condescending snicker. No matter how you run the math, there's simply no way to turn a $149 price tag into a satisfying tablet experience--at least not yet. Logic may have gotten the better of me, though, because the demand for this Augen brand Android tablet is apparently so great, that Kmart is already issuing rain checks. In my ivory CNET tower, I forgot to calculate for the effects of a cheap price, Android fever, and blind optimism.
But before you make that dash for Kmart's blue-light beacon, allow me to explain what you probably already know in your heart to be true: the Augen Gentouch78 probably isn't all it's cracked up to be.
Professionally, it's not in my best interest to rein in consumer gadget lust--but as CNET's resident Android tablet expert I have to say my piece. To be fair, let's take a look at what makes this tablet so appealing on paper. Price aside, the Gentouch78 offers a relatively large screen, a version of the Android OS (2.1) that even Dell can't seem to deliver, an integrated Android app store, Wi-Fi, memory expansion (2GB built-in), and the predictable array of music, photos, videos, e-books, e-mail, and Web.
Now for the reality check. … Read more
With Jeff's wedding creeping up sooner than we expected, it's about time that The 404 Podcast discusses exactly what we'll be wearing to the ceremonies. Always the responsible one, Wilson is prepared with his own suit, and Jeff will obviously be wearing the cheapest tux money can rent, but I've somehow made it 26 years without ever buying a suit and I refuse to start now...hopefully Stacie is OK with me wearing this old thing.
Hey, cheapskate! No, not you, the guy who won't spend more than $100 on what is usually a bare-bones, off-brand monitor, with no warranty and a tech support service that won't return your calls, which of course you'll need since your new monitor is dead after two days. No, not you.
I'm talking to you, the guy who, maybe can do without HDMI but still wants at least a decently performing monitor with a few extras. Yes, you, come closer. No, closer...closer. Can you hear me OK? Good. It's sub-$250 monitors!
OK, the … Read more
One of my audiophile pals, Dave King, e-mailed me the other day about his latest find, the Dayton B652 ($25 per pair). It didn't arrive in time for my Top 10 audio bargains blog the other day, or it would have surely been included.
I've known Dave for 20 years, and we've listened to a lot of hi-fis together, so I know he's got great ears. And he knows how to get my attention: "I'm certain I recently discovered the absolute diminishing returns point in hi-fi loudspeakers. They remind me a lot of Wharfedale Diamond speakers of yore, but the B652 has a 6.5-inch midwoofer instead of the Diamonds' 4.5-inch." The original Diamonds were a really big deal in the 1980s; they were easily the best budget speaker of the era, but even then they were more like $60 or $70 a pair. They were probably made in England, the Dayton B652 is built in China.
It's a mid-size, black vinyl-covered monitor speaker, 11.7 inches high, 7.1 inches wide, and 6.5 inches deep. The front baffle hosts a 6.5-inch polypropylene woofer and a 0.6-inch polycarbonate ferrofluid-cooled tweeter. Dave liked the fit and finish well enough, but he wasn't too happy with the Dayton B652's spring-clip wire connectors. I agree, clip connectors never have much grip on the wires, so they can fall out when you move the speakers. I've seen those things on $100 speakers, but on a $25 speaker you can't really complain about spring clips.
One of the Dayton B652's more interesting design features is its acoustic suspension (nonported woofer. I like that because acoustic suspension woofers tend to sound better than ported ones, and Dave was impressed by the Dayton B652's bass definition. The downside to acoustic suspension designs is the bass doesn't go as deep as ported woofers do. The Dayton B652's bass is reasonably flat to 70 hertz, and Dave likes to use subwoofers with most speakers anyway. When I pressed him on the matter he said he thought most folks would be well-satisfied with the Dayton B652's bass on its own. … Read more
If you're going to get one accessory to go with your MP3 player, make it a decent pair of headphones. This may seem counterintuitive when you consider that all such devices come with a pair of earbuds in the package, but trust us when we tell you this stock set isn't doing you any favors in the sound or comfort department.
The majority of MP3 players include a pair of hard, plastic earphones with subpar sonic capabilities. Of course, they get the job done, so we can understand not wanting to drop a grip of cash on a … Read more
My guess is that anyone reading this blog probably also watched the big game last night (congratulations to the Saints and perhaps more importantly, to the city of New Orleans--you deserve it). During the second half of the game, a 60 second commercial came on with the soundtrack "The Green Police" (a take on "The Dream Police" by Cheap Trick in case you couldn't tell) that ended with what appears to be a green police approved vehicle moving on down the road. Well, the commercial was for the 2010 Audi A3 TDI clean diesel hybrid … Read more
Service contracts may chain you to a wireless carrier for up to two years, but they also can save you some serious cash when you're buying a new cell phone. And since carriers love holding on to their customers, they're quick to offer free phones of all types. Some handsets will just make calls, but others will offer media players, cameras, Web browsers, and full keyboards for messaging.
If you're looking for a phone that won't put a dent in your wallet, CNET has pulled together a list of free phones from the major carriers. Prices … Read more
Before you shell out hundreds of dollars on holiday hits like Modern Warfare 2, Assassin's Creed II, and Uncharted 2, you could easily be enjoying some of this generation's classics for a fraction of the price.
Console games are expensive and this holiday season everyone is watching their budget. So when Black Friday arrives, resist the urge to go straight to the new releases rack and instead pick up a few of these gems for yourself or the gamer in your life. Besides, if you haven't played these epics before, they're new to you!
Click on … Read more