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Vizio XVT3D554SV HDTV Review

Vizio XVT3D554SV

Vizio XVT3D554SV Vizio presents the XVT3D554SV ($2,199.99 list), a 55-inch, web-enabled LED 3D HDTV with a 480Hz refresh rate, 10 million to one contrast ratio and four millisecond response time. While it is smaller and more afforable than the 60-inch XVT3D554SV, there are few differences between the two machines. In addition to housing a list of Vizio’s web apps, the XVT3D554SV includes a universal Bluetooth remote with QWERTY keyboard and is Energy STAR 4.1 compliant.

Vizio XVT3D554SV Design and Features
This LED-backlit 3D set is surrounded by an angular, glossy black bezel with a speaker bar underneath. It rests on a large, rounded stand that does not swivel, though this screen sports a 178-degree viewing angle. The XVT3D554SV houses five HDMI inputs (four in the back and one on its side), one of each standard video input and three USB ports. Also included is both an Ethernet port and built-in 802.11n WiFi to take advantage of Vizio’s suite of of web apps, VIA.

The contrast and color balance within the XVT3D554SV is powered by Vizio’s Smart Dimming LED display, which controls all 120 blocks of LEDs within the screen to turn them off in support of the screen’s 10 million to one contrast ratio. Its 480Hz refresh rate delivers 480 scenes per second by combining its refresh rate with a scanning backlight. Of course, this HDTV puts out full 1080p HD, but also supports 3D viewing with the appropriate glasses and compatible 3D Blu-ray, premium television or gaming device. However, a two-pack of rechargeable 3D glasses through Vizio costs $219.99.

Vizio XVT3D554SV Specifications

Vizio XVT3D554SV Screen Size

55 inches
Vizio XVT3D554SV Type
LCD TV, HDTV
Aspect Ratio
Vizio XVT3D554SV 16:9
Vizio XVT3D554SVNetworking Options
Wi-Fi
Speakers Included
Yes

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The included universal Bluetooth remote with QWERTY keyboard will be used to navigate VIA, the suite of over 14 Vizio web apps including Facebook, Netflix, Pandora and more. Vizio’s line of XVT 3DTVs also sport SRS TruSurround HD sound with TruVolume, a feature that reduces the volume inconsistencies between TV programs. Finally, the XVT3D554SV is Energy STAR 4.1-compliant through its mercury-free LED screen and other power-saving features.

Vizio XVT3D554SV

 

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Posted by on September 28, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

Canon imageClass MF4450 Printer Review

Canon imageClass MF4450

If you think of the Canon imageClass MF4450 ($249 direct) mono laser MFP as a personal version of the Editors’ Choice Canon imageClass MF4570dn ($299 direct, 4 stars), you won’t be far off. There are some important differences, most notably the lack of network support and a duplexer (for two-sided printing). However, it otherwise offers similar capabilities at a lower price, while its ability to connect only by USB makes it a definitively personal printer.

Like the MF4570dn, the MF4450 can print, scan, and fax directly from a PC and work as a standalone copier and fax machine. It also offers a 35-page ADF to complement its flatbed for scanning and easily handle multipage documents and legal-size pages. As long as you don’t need to duplex—a duplexer isn’t even offered as an option—paper handling for printing is more than enough for most personal needs, with a 250-sheet main tray and a one-sheet manual feed.

Canon imageClass MF4450 View SlideshowSee all (5) slides

Canon ImageClass MF4450: Right
Canon ImageClass MF4450: Open
Canon ImageClass MF4450: Left
Canon ImageClass MF4450: Front

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Canon imageClass MF4450 Setup and Speed
The MF4450 is a little bigger than you would probably want sitting on your desk, at 14.6 by 15.4 by 16.6 inches (HWD), but it’s small enough so you shouldn’t have trouble finding room for it nearby, even in a home office.

Setup on the Windows Vista system I tested with was standard fare. Canon rates the printer at 24 pages per minute (ppm), which is 2 ppm slower than the rating for the MF4570. The results on our tests, however, were essentially the same for both printers.

Canon imageClass MF4450 Specifications

Printer Category
Laser
Type
All-In-One
Canon imageClass MF4450 Color or Monochrome
Monochrome
Technology (for laser category only)
Laser
Canon imageClass MF4450 Maximum Standard Paper Size
Legal
Direct Printing from Cameras
No
Canon imageClass MF4450 Rated speed at Default Resolution (Mono)
24 ppm
 Canon imageClass MF4450 Standalone Copier and Fax
Copier, Fax
Canon imageClass MF4450Print Duplexing
No

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I timed the MF4450 on our business applications suite (usingQualityLogic’s hardware and software for timing), at 12.9 ppm. That makes it effectively tied with the MF4750dn at 12.3 ppm and the Canon imageClass D550 ($299 direct, 3 stars) at 13.2 ppm for fastest mono laser MFP in its price class or below. (A 1-ppm difference on our tests isn’t significant for lasers.) The next fastest MFP is the HP LaserJet Pro M1212nf MF ($199 direct, 3.5 stars), at 11.3 ppm.

Canon imageClass MF4450 Output Quality and Other Issues
The output quality doesn’t earn the same high marks as the print speed, but it’s easily good enough for most business needs. Text quality is a touch below par for a mono laser, which means you wouldn’t want to use it for high-quality desktop publishing or if you have an unusual need for small fonts. For anything short of that, however, you should find it more than acceptable.

Graphics quality is at the high end of a tight range where most mono laser MFPs fall, making it suitable for any internal business need. Photo output is a touch below par, but still suitable for printing Web pages with recognizable photos. Depending on how much of a perfectionist you are, you may or may not consider the photos good enough for client newsletters or the like.

Ultimately, the MF4450 is an attractive choice as a personal MFP. Both the MF4750dn and D550 offer better value—with the MF4750dn adding network support and a duplexer and the D550 adding both a print duplexer and a duplexing ADF for scanning—for just $50 more. But if you don’t need these additional features, there’s no reason why you should pay for them. And if that’s the case, choosing the MF4450 will give you what you need while leaving a little more money in your wallet.

 

Canon imageClass MF4450

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Posted by on September 28, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

Apple Thunderbolt Display Moniter Review

Apple Thunderbolt Display

Apple Thunderbolt You don’t have to be an Apple fanboy to appreciate the new Apple Thunderbolt Display ($999 direct), but you will need to have a Thunderbolt-ready Mac destkop or laptop to use it, and be willing to shell out close to a grand for the privilege. This 27-inch beauty is the first display to utilize Thunderbolt I/O technology, and its connectivity prowess makes it an ideal docking station for Thunderbolt-enabled MacBooks. It also delivers bright, accurate colors and excellent image detail. Its flaws—a relatively slow response time produces some motion artifacts, and a glossy screen coating that can be very reflective—is somewhat minor compared with what it has to offer. It earns our Editors’ Choice for high-end monitors.

 

A word about Thunderbolt technology; co-developed by Intel and Apple, Thunderbolt is a dual-channel I/O solution (based on PCI Express and DisplayPort technologies) that delivers twice the I/O performance (10Gbps) as USB 3.0 (5Gbps) using a single cable. According to Apple, Thunderbolt is up to 20 times faster than USB 2.0 and 12 times faster than FireWire 800. All of that bandwidth allows users to daisy chain multiple peripherals and still achieve good I/O throughput. (For more on Thunderbolt, check out our primer, “Intel’s Thunderbolt: 10 Things You Need to Know.”)

 

 Apple Thunderbolt View SlideshowSee all (8) slides

Apple Thunderbolt Display : Display with MacBook
Apple Thunderbolt Display : Front
Apple Thunderbolt Display : Back
Apple Thunderbolt Display : Ports

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Apple Thunderbolt Design and Features
Design-wise, the Thunderbolt Display looks exactly like the Apple Cinema Display. The 27-inch, 2,560-by-1,440 resolution IPS (in-plane switching) panel is housed in the same silver aluminum cabinet and is supported by the same angled stand which contains a smooth, easy to maneuver tilt mechanism. You can’t adjust the panel’s height or swivel it for a better angle, however. Edge-to-edge glass over piano black bezels and rounded corners provide plenty of style, but the glossy glass is very reflective. Apple logos can be found on the rear of the cabinet and on the lower front bezel, and a FaceTime HD camera is embedded in the upper bezel. The cabinet also holds a 2.1 audio system (two speakers and a subwoofer) that delivers 49 watts of rich, crystal clear sound with incredibly deep bass response. It is hands-down the best audio output I’ve heard from a desktop display and a good deal better than a number of HDTVs that I’ve reviewed.

 

You won’t find any function buttons on this monitor, as all settings are adjusted from within the System Preferences Display control panel. Here, you can change the resolution, rotate the screen image, adjust brightness, and select a color profile. There’s also a Calibration Assistant that helps you tweak gamma and white point settings. Chances are you won’t have to do much tweaking as Apple calibrates each panel before it leaves the factory. As with the Cinema Display, a light sensor automatically adjusts the panel’s brightness according to ambient light levels, but you can disable this function if you prefer.

 

Apple Thunderbolt Specifications

Screen Size
27 inches
Native Resolution
2560 x 1440
Apple Thunderbolt Supported Video Formats
1080p
Widescreen
Yes
Apple Thunderbolt Aspect Ratio
16:9
Apple Thunderbolt PC Interfaces
Thunderbolt

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Two hard-wired cables protrude from the rear of the cabinet. One is a traditional three-pronged power cord and the other is a double header containing Apple’s awesome MagSafe power connector and a Thunderbolt connector. One of the many cool features of this display is that once you plug in the regular power cord you can power up and charge your laptop with the monitor’s MagSafe plug. Also around back are three USB (2.0) ports, a FireWire 800 port, a gigabit Ethernet port, and a Thunderbolt port. It’s not unusual to find an Ethernet port on an HDTV but you rarely see them on desktop monitors. I connected a labs Ethernet cable to the display, and thanks to Thunderbolt, received a wired network connection notification on my MacBook Air within seconds. You can use the display’s Thunderbolt port to connect up to six peripherals, such as external storage and video capture devices, as well as multiple monitors.

 

Apple Thunderbolt Performance
As with most IPS panels, the Thunderbolt Display delivers very accurate colors. Swatches from the DisplayMate Color Scales test scaled uniformly from dark to light and there was no evidence of tinting or over saturated reds, greens, or blues. The panel’s inky blacks gave the colors some pop as well. Grayscale performance was also quite good, particularly on the light end of the scale where every shade of gray was displayed correctly. Dark grays were well defined right up to the very darkest shade, which was slightly compressed and indistinguishable from black. Shadow detail was still very good, however; dark scenes from the HD movie trailer I Am Legend were strikingly detailed and skin tones were spot on. Only the NEC MultiSync PA301W($2,229 direct, 4.5 stars) did a better job with dark grays, but that’s a professional-grade monitor that costs $1,200 more than the Thunderbolt Display. If you work with large documents and prefer to arrange them side-by-side, the Thunderbolt Display is ideal for viewing small text; the font’s 5.3 points (the smallest available on the DisplayMate Scaled Fonts test) were completely legible and well defined.

 

IPS panels are known to deliver wide viewing angles, and the Thunderbolt Display is no exception. You can place this monitor just about anywhere without worrying about color shifting or experiencing that dark screen effect that you get with most TN+ panels. What you will get is some instances of motion blur, however, which comes by way of the Thunderbolt Display’s 12-millisecond pixel response. The artifacts aren’t overwhelming and certainly won’t have much of an impact while watching streaming video (which is usually susceptible to artifacts anyway), but if you decide to use this monitor for gaming you’ll notice some minor motion lag. That’s just one of the trade-offs that come with using an IPS panel rather than a TN+ panel, though.

 

There’s a lot to like about the Apple Thunderbolt Display. It’s the first monitor to offer Thunderbolt high-speed connectivity, it delivers excellent image quality, and its audio output is top shelf. Having the ability to connect multiple devices makes it an ideal base station for MacBook laptops, and like nearly every other product sporting an Apple logo, it’s a real head turner. It is certainly more expensive than most 27-inch monitors, but no other monitor can do what it does, at least not yet. All this is why this monitor earns the Editors’ Choice. If you own a Thunderbolt-enabled MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, Mac mini, or iMac, the Thunderbolt Display makes perfect sense.

 

Apple Thunderbolt

 

 

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TrustPort Total Protection 2012 Review

TrustPort Total Protection 2012

Antivirus and firewall protection are the core of a security suite. We also expect to find other features including antispam, parental control, and some form of privacy protection. TrustPort Total Protection 2012 ($89.95 for three licenses) includes these expected components as well as some unusual bonus features. It’s particularly effective at detecting and blocking malware, and its impact on system performance is among the lowest. Unfortunately, not all of the components work as well as they should.

Good Malware Blocking, Poor Cleanup
For the most part, the suite’s antivirus protection is identical to that of the standalone antivirus. I’ll briefly summarize the antivirus results here. Please read my review ofTrustPort Antivirus 2012 ($39.95 direct, 3.5 stars) for full details.

TrustPort View SlideshowSee all (17) slides

TrustPort Total Protection 2012 : Main Window
TrustPort Total Protection 2012 : Expert Settings
TrustPort Total Protection 2012 : Web Protection
TrustPort Total Protection 2012 : Simple Firewall Configuration

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Not all of the independent labs test TrustPort. Those that do include it in their evaluations give it good marks, but most of these tests don’t involve dynamic cleanup of infested systems. In my own tests TrustPort showed excellent malware detection but flopped when it came to cleanup. For details on how I interpret these lab results, see How We Interpret Antivirus Lab Tests.

Related StoryTrustPort Total Security 2012 lab tests chart

 TrustPort Specifications

Type
Business, Personal, Professional
OS Compatibility
Windows Vista, Windows XP, Windows 7
Tech Support
Email support standard. Premium phone support available.

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TrustPort detected 88 percent of the threats on my malware-infested test systems, but its alleged cleanup left many of them still running. It scored 5.4 points for malware cleanup overall, and 4.4 for rootkit cleanup. TrustPort did handle scareware well, scoring 9.5 for scareware removal. For details on how I derive these scores see How We Test Malware Removal.

Related StoryTrustPort Total Security 2012 malware removal chart

 

In the malware blocking test, TrustPort set an impressive new record. It detected 97 percent of the threats, some immediately on sight and others when I attempted to launch them. I don’t like its default action, though. On detecting a dangerous file it simply blocks access, leaving the file in place like a time-bomb whose countdown clock is temporarily stuck. If TrustPort crashed, that file would become dangerous again.

TrustPort scored 8.6 points for malware blocking overall, 9.1 points for rootkit blocking, and 9.0 for scareware blocking. To understand how I come up with those scores, see How We Test Malware Blocking.

Related StoryTrustPort Total Security 2012 malware blocking chart

 

The suite’s Web Protection feature, not found in the standalone antivirus, can block access to dangerous URLs. I also found that the suite detected more threats during download than the standalone antivirus. When I attempted to re-download my sample collection it blocked all but one of those still extant.

I did find that the new Application Inspector feature, which warns the user when it detects certain behaviors, was just as likely to warn about valid programs as malware. And if you accept the default action “block this operation,” it actually terminates the program and blocks it from running again. Fortunately, TrustPort includes a built-in option to let you rescue a program that was blocked in error.

 

TrustPort

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Nikon Coolpix P100 Camera Review

Nikon Coolpix P100

Nikon Coolpix P100 An upgrade to the Coolpix L110 ($279.95 list), Nikon’s Coolpix P100 ($399 list) sports a 26 millimeter wide-angle NIKKOR ED glass lens with 26x optical zoom and 10.3 megapixel CMOS optical sensor. While it certainly looks like its predecessor, the Coolpix P100 has plenty of features to differentiate itself.

Nikon Coolpix P100 Design and Features
Outside, this camera’s all-black frame looks almost identical to the L110. But perhaps the optical viewfinder sitting above its 3-inch LCD screen will give it away. Up top you’ll find a pop-up flash and a control wheel featuring most of the compact’s scene and shot settings. In addition to the optical viewfinder and standard controls, the Coolpix P100′s 3-inch LCD screen sits on a hinge that can angle the display either up or down.

 

Nikon Coolpix P100

Thanks to this camera’s CMOS optical sensor powered by Nikon Coolpix P100 EXPEED image processor, it can shoot 10 frames per second at full resolution and 120 frames per second at 1.1 megapixels. Its Advanced Night Landscape mode can combine a series of consecutive shots taken at night and combine them into one image. A similar feature is the Backlit Scene High Dynamic Range function, which merges different exposures of one scene to create one shot with a range of tones. The Coolpix P100 can also record 1080p HD video at 30 frames per second.

In addition to automatic subject tracking and manual control of aperture, shutter and exposure, this compact camera features a scene auto selector that can adjust these settings based what’s within the frame. Its NIKKOR glass lens can zoom from 26 millimeter wide-angle to 678 millimeter telephoto range. This is supported by Nikon’s 5-way Image Stabilization system, which uses a combination of both optical and virtual image stabilization, motion detection and a maximum ISO setting of 3,200 to reduce image blur. Nikon’s Best Shot Selector returns, a feature that takes 10 shots upon holding the shutter and chooses the best-looking image to save. The list of features within the Coolpix P100 is rounded out by its Smart Portrait System that combines its scene auto selector with red-eye correction, blink detection and the ability to focus on up to 12 faces simultaneously.

 Nikon Coolpix P100 Specifications

Type
Compact
Megapixels
10.3 MP
Optical Zoom
26 x
LCD size
3 inches
Video Resolution
Yes

Nikon Coolpix P100

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Promise Pegasus R6 Hard Drive Review

PROMISE Pegasus R6

The Promise Pegasus R6 ($1,999 list at the Apple store) is an extremely pricey, very large, crazy-fast external hard drive array with a Thunderbolt interface for the high-end graphics industry. If you’re a hardcore Photoshop, Premiere Pro, Final Cut Pro, or Avid Media Composer user, your mouth will start salivating after you read this. For everyone else, standard hard drives will do you fine. The Promise Pegasus R6, in short, is professional-grade equipment.

Promise Pegasus R6 Design and Features
The Pegasus R6 looks like many other multi-drive external boxes. It’s a big metal block that will take up a lot of space on your desk (about 10 by 7.25 by 9.75 inches, HWD). The R6 needs to be that big to accommodate the six full-sized 3.5-inch spinning hard drives working in sync to give you loads of fast, secure storage. The drives are all mounted on trays that both lock and slide in/out easily. These trays will be familiar to any user who uses hot swappable hard drives in a server or workstation.

Promise Pegasus R6 View SlideshowSee all (6) slides

Promise Pegasus R6 : Front
Promise Pegasus R6 : Thunderbolt
Promise Pegasus R6 : Family
Promise Pegasus R6 : Back

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The drives themselves are 7,200rpm 2TB hard drives. This is kind of surprising since as a group, they outperform an internal SSD (see performance below). Conventional wisdom would expect 10,000rpm drives or SSDs in this application, since individually SSDs and 10k drives tend to have higher throughputs than 7,200rpm drives. However, working together, the six drives here are faster than any single drive. On the front of the drive, each tray has its own status light and drive access light. The power button is backlit to indicate power on, errors, or sleep mode; and just below there are a couple of Thunderbolt lights to indicate that either of the two ports are active. The back of the unit is quite Spartan. There’s just the standard power jack for a three-pronged power cable and two Thunderbolt ports. This means that you can’t downshift to FireWire or USB if you’re transferring files to a non-Thunderbolt Mac. A minor inconvenience to be sure, but still.

 

The two Thunderbolt ports are versatile: they pass data through, so you can daisy chain up to six Pegasus R6 (or R4) drives together. Six Pegasus R6 arrays will give you about 60 TB of data storage, connected through one Thunderbolt port. You can also plug a mini-DisplayPort monitor into the Thunderbolt port on the back of the Pegasus R6, so you can use the drive and a monitor simultaneously with only one connection. This goes double for an iMac 27-inch with two Thunderbolt ports. Theoretically, you could have 12 Pegasus R6 drives and two 24- or 27-inch Cinema displays connected to your 27-inch iMac. That’s a total three screens and 121 TB of drive space for $28,273 before tax (including twelve $49 Thunderbolt cables and a 27-inch iMac). Unfortunately, the Apple Thunderbolt cable isn’t included with the Pegasus R6 or R4.

Promise Pegasus R6 Specifications

Type
External
System Type
Desktop
Promise Pegasus R6 Storage Capacity (as Tested)
12000 GB
Promise Pegasus R6 Rotation Speed
7200 rpm
Promise Pegasus R6 Ports
SATA, Thunderbolt

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The Pegasus R6 is set for RAID 5 out of the box, and that’s how we tested the drive. RAID 5 (striping and data parity) gives the user a lot of benefits: some speed, bulletproof data protection, and hot swap capability. (For more on the difference between RAID configurations, check out our primer on RAID, RAID Levels Explained. RAID 5 basically gives you one-drive failure protection: If one of the hard drives physically fails, the data parity files on the remaining drives allow you to keep working until you replace the bad drive. You can replace the bad drive while the unit is operating and rebuild the array on the fly, so there’s virtually no down time. The six-drive array gives you 10TB instead of the nominal 12TB as a result of the extra data parity files, but that’s still a good tradeoff. If you really need to get all the performance and drive space you can out of the Pegasus R6, you can set the RAID level to 0, but if any drive physically fails, you’ll lose all your data. (RAID 0, 6, and 10 are the available configurations).

The Pegasus R6 comes with only one piece of software on board: a controller program that can monitor the health of the RAID array and reconfigure it based on your needs. As with all RAID devices, I’d recommend backing up your data elsewhere before changing RAID configs, as the process usually entails formatting the drive. The drive is formatted HFS+, the Mac OS X native format, and as such it can be used as a Time Machine backup drive out of the box, though that would make it a very expensive 12TB backup drive. Most users will likely use the drive as a project work drive for high-end tasks: using programs like Photoshop, Premiere Pro, or Final Cut Pro/ Pro X. You could theoretically house a massive database or Website on the drive as well, but there aren’t any servers or workstations with Thunderbolt, at least until Apple updates the Mac Pro with a Thunderbolt port. The drive is not Windows compatible at this time. There are no shipping Windows PCs with the mini-DisplayPort shaped Thunderbolt port, and there are no Windows drivers for the R6 on Windows, even in Boot Camp.

Promise Pegasus R6 Performance
Here’s the reason you’re considering this drive in the first place: performance. The Pegasus R6 using the Thunderbolt interface is fast. Unbelievably fast. It’s so fast that it beats the internal solid-state drive (SSD) in an Apple MacBook Pro in speed and throughput tests. We used our standard drag-and-drop test of a 1.2 GB folder, and the Pegasus R6 took six seconds! Compare that to the Editors’ Choice winning 1TB Iomega eGo Blackbelt ($199.99 list, 4 stars) which took at 35 seconds under USB 2.0 and 22 seconds with FireWire 800. The desktop-class Iomega eGo Desktop Hard Drive, Mac Edition (2TB) ($185 street, 3.5 stars) (16 seconds) and Western Digital My Book Studio Edition II ($429.99 list, 4.5 stars) (32 seconds) were both slower using FireWire 800. The Pegasus R6 is even faster than the Apricorn Mac Array ($1399 list, 3 stars), which is a four-SSD internal RAID 0 array meant to be installed in Mac Pro towers (10 seconds). Until this point, the Apricorn MacArray was the fastest “drive” that we’ve tested. That means that multi-Gigabyte file transfers will take seconds instead of minutes (or instead of hours under USB 2.0). That alone will make you more productive.

PROMISE Pegasus R6

We also ran the drive through a couple other tests to show throughput numbers. The AJA System test shows throughput numbers in a quick read/write test to see how the drive would do in a video-editing situation. Using a setting for a 512MB 1080p (10-bit) HD video file, the drive was about to write at about 620 Megabytes per second and write at about 480 MBps. The internal SSD in the MacBook Pro was only capable of 185MBps write and 197 MBps read. Contrast this with a FireWire 800 drive at about 48 MBps write and 46MBps read. Using the Pegasus R6 will mean a lot less time waiting for HD video files to simply transfer from your camera to the drive to your Mac. USB 2.0 would be in the region of 21 MBps.

PROMISE Pegasus R6

The Pegasus R6 is about 16 to 19 cents per GB (depending on RAID level), so it has a distinct price premium on a dollar per GB basis versus smaller drives like the Iomega eGo Desktop drive, Mac Edition (9 cents per GB). However, the speed and reliability difference is way worth it, especially if you’re using the drive on multi-million dollar projects that have to be done yesterday. You can get similar storage space by buying multiple drives like the Western Digital My Book Studio II (two 6TB drives at $550 each would do it), but the WD drives won’t get you the performance you crave. Essentially, if you can justify writing the Pegasus R6 off on a tax return, capital budget, or business expense sheet, it’s worth buying one.

Basically, you want to buy a Promise Pegasus R6 if your performance has been drive-limited in the past (just about all performance tasks, but especially high-end video and photo production). It’s the fastest drive and interface combo out there, and it has the benefit of being the first on the market. There will likely be faster and less expensive Thunderbolt drives in the future, but if you’re itching for a fast drive to go along with your new quad-core iMac or MacBook Pro, and don’t mind paying a steep premium, the Promise Pegasus R6 is worth serious consideration.

 

Promise Pegasus R6

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Sharp Aquos LC-60LE835U HDTV Review

Sharp Aquos LC-60LE835U (Quattron)

Sharp Aquos LC-60LE835U Sharp threw everything it could think of into the LC-60LE835U. It’s a 60-inch, super-thin, edge-lit LED HDTV. It’s a 3D HDTV. It’s a Quattron HDTV with a fourth, yellow, pixel. It’s a 240Hz HDTV with Web apps. It’s an energy-saving HDTV that earns our GreenTech approval. A couple of minor flaws come along with all that, chief among them: a clunky menu system with few online services and a $2,799.99 list price that’s a little on the high side. If you can afford it, this big-screen HDTV won’t leave you wanting for cutting-edge tech or performance.

Design
Sharp’s minimalism is downright striking with this set. A narrow, flat, glossy black bezel surrounds the 60-inch screen, punctuated only by a Sharp logo in the middle of the bottom edge and an Aquos 3D logo in the top left corner. The base is flat, black, and glossy, just like the bezel, and blends against the rest of the HDTV while offering a wide left-right pivoting range. Unfortunately, like the base on last year’s LC-52LE820UN ($2,999.99, 3 stars), the base feels wobbly. Considering the 68.3-pound (83.8 pounds with base) screen is only 0.9 inches thick, it’s clear this is a device better mounted on the wall than set on a stand. An inverted, illuminated “V” under the screen is the only lighted aspect of the HDTV, save the screen itself. 

Sharp Aquos LC-60LE835U View SlideshowSee all (10) slides

Sharp LC-60LE835U : Screen
Sharp LC-60LE835U : Front
Sharp LC-60LE835U : Angle
Sharp LC-60LE835U : Profile

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Sharp Aquos LC-60LE835U All inputs sit on a back panel a few inches in from the edge of the screen. Facing sideways, toward the left side of the HDTV, are four HDMI inputs and a USB port for loading photos and movies. Facing downward, from the same panel, are an Ethernet port for Web apps, a coaxial plug for cable, optical and analog audio inputs, and a second USB port. Facing straight out from the back panel are a VGA input, a component video input, two composite video inputs, and an RS232 serial port for controlling the HDTV over a network.

The 9.4-inch-long remote is slim and striking, half-matte and half-glossy black. The navigation pad and Menu/App buttons live on the matte black lower half, while the number pad and playback buttons are on the glossy upper half. The buttons are a firm rubber, and feel suitably different under the thumb; the navigation pad is a curved circle, while the App and Playback buttons are small and oblong and the number pad and Power buttons are large and square. The only complaint is a very small Input button, located in the middle of the remote; it makes switching between sources slightly slower than it could be.

Sharp Aquos LC-60LE835U Specifications

Screen Size
60 inches
Type
LCD TV
Supported Refresh Rates
240Hz
Aspect Ratio
16:9
Sharp Aquos LC-60LE835U Video Inputs
Component, Composite, HDMI
Networking Options
Wi-Fi
Speakers Included
Yes
Stand Supplied?
Yes
Height
33 inches
Sharp Aquos LC-60LE835U Width
54 inches
Depth
1 inches
Sharp Aquos LC-60LE835U Weight
68.3 lb

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The on-screen menu system could use a revamp. Instead of overlaying the menus on top of the picture, it shrinks the picture and forms a frame around it, distorting the image as you cycle through various menu settings. The settings are organized in columns, like Sony’s XrossMediaBar (XMB) interface, but in a much less smooth and clean way. It’s simple to navigate, but it’s one of the least attractive on-screen menu systems I’ve seen in an HDTV in the recent past.

Fortunately, the Sharp’s Web-based apps are accessible through a different menu, activated through the Apps button rather than the Menu button. The Apps menu is a much more conventional interface, organized in a simple pop-up row along the bottom edge of the screen. You can also link your favorite apps to one of three Apps buttons on the remote, so you don’t have to go into the menu at all after the initial setting. Unfortunately, the Web-app selection on the Sharp Aquos LC-60LE835U is a bit sparse compared with other HDTVs. The set offers Netflix, CinemaNow, Vudu, Pandora Internet Radio, Twitter, and Facebook, but this library doesn’t come close to the broad selection of services found on the Sony Bravia KDL-55HX800 ($3,399.99, 4 stars) and other Sony or Samsung home-theater products.

 

Sharp Aquos LC-60LE835U

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Posted by on September 28, 2011 in Uncategorized