Category Archives: Electronics

Zen V Plus Review

After using the Zen V Plus for about a month now, I would have to say that this product is rather worthy for those who are looking for a more solid, smaller capacity mp3 player with plenty of features such as the FM tuner, microphone and video playback. Another plus is its scratch-resistant chassis and better capability to keep dust out of the screen. Although, the Zen V Plus comes bundled with all sorts of software, one does not need to install any of these and can just get by with Windows Media Player or other third party software to transfer files.

Despite the size of the screen, the photos come out very clean and vibrant. For those who are left handed or simply not used to pressing the play button with the right thumb, one can always configure the menu orientation to be displayed in all four directions.

On the other hand, video playback is simply a novelty factor since it only supports RGB playback (basically playing back video as a stream of jpegs) at 15 frames per second. Also, the codec used for the Zen V Plus is usually 3 times the size of a typical divx file.

To make up for the seemingly unspectacular video performance (although it was expected from its hardware), the FM tuner and microphone as well as the audio truly makes this player shine. The FM tuner is very good in catching signals, unless one is surrounded by thick concrete walls, and has a nice feature in searching for FM channels. The microphone is very useful for making reminders and short notes, but not recommended for studio purposes. The line-in jack might come useful for recording mp3s from other players, but remains untested on my part.

Overall, this player has a lot of bang for the buck. Nonetheless, the battery lasts longer than the prescribed 15 hours depending on video and menu usage.

Another Good Review Source: http://reviews.cnet.com/mp3-players/creative-zen-v-plus/4505-6490_7-31935066.html

http://www.anythingbutipod.com/archives/2006/10/creative-zen-v-plus-review.php

Review: the New Zune

“Having survived its freshman hazing, the Zune is back for its sophomore revenge, and the iPod has every reason to be frightened. The Zune 4 (4GB, $149) and Zune 8 (8GB, $199) offer a leaner, lighter version of Microsoft’s full-size Zune 80 MP3 player (80GB, $249).

 

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With a new hardware and software design, wireless sync capability, subscription music compatibility, and integrated support for audio and video podcasts, the Zune 4 and Zune 8 are poised to compete directly with the third-generation Apple iPod Nano.”

Source -> http://www.cnn.com/2007/TECH/ptech/11/23/zune/index.html

Amazon.com Black Friday Madness.

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(click for enlarged image)

As if Amazon.com couldn’t get any better, they’ve finally put down a wicked competition in the Black Friday madness this year.

They have a unique system where you, the consumer vote on what incredible deals you’ll get. There are 8 rounds, each of 3 items under a specific category. For example, the first round consists of the Nintendo Wii, Playstation 3 (40 GB model) and the new Xbox 360 Arcade system that is replacing the Core system. Each are sold at incredibly lower prices (over 50%!) but you’re only able to get that deal on the one you vote for, if you show up at a specified time and are offered that deal.

You can vote once in each round, careful though, you can’t change your vote. You have to be a registered user but it’s free and you only need your basic information until you buy the product. I would recommend setting up your account for one-click buying however as these deals are highly limited to about an average of 500-1,000 pieces of inventory per item.

Head over to this url to get started: [ http://promotions.amazon.com/gp/holiday/amazon-customers-vote ]

Happy shopping viewers of The Underground!

HDTV for Any Budget

Being the lazy oaf that I am, I have copied and pasted below the article.  This year is a stellant year for HD-TVs, so if you want one, now is the time to open that pocketbook and buy that TV you have been eyeing for years. 

If a high-definition TV is on your holiday shopping list, here’s news that could have you smiling all the way to the store: Thanks to continuing price cuts, you’re going to get more TV for the money than you would have last year.

Prices are expected to be about 30 percent lower on average than during the 2006 holiday season, with even steeper drops on some TV types and screen sizes.

Experts predict that plasma TV prices will shrink the most. The average price for a 42-inch plasma set with 720p resolution could fall below $1,000 by year’s end, with 50-inch models going for less than $1,500, says Ross Young of DisplaySearch, a research firm in Austin, Texas. Even the new breed of plasma TVs with 1080p resolution, or full HD, will approach mainstream prices. Such TVs with 50-inch screens, which averaged a sky-high $6,700 last year, should sell for less than $2,400.

Early-bird shoppers might find even lower plasma prices over the Thanksgiving weekend, says Tamaryn Pratt of Quixel Research, in Portland, Ore. She predicts that 720p plasmas from some brands could temporarily dip to $800 or less for 42-inch sets and $1,400 for 50-inchers before bouncing up slightly in December.

Big-screen LCD TVs will also sell for less than they did last year. The average 42-inch 720p LCD set should sell for below $1,100, according to DisplaySearch, while 1080p TVs of that size will go for about $1,400. You might find still lower prices on 1080p models from lesser-known brands, including 42-inchers priced at less than $1,000, Quixel Research projects.

Pratt expects to see deals around $1,000 on 50-inch rear-projection sets, with 70-inch sets selling well at $3,000 to $3,400, a size where flat panels still can’t compete.

Don’t worry that manufacturers have skimped on quality to trim prices. Overall, HDTVs are better than ever, and our Ratings of plasma TVs, LCD TVs, and rear-projections TVs (available to subscribers) include more models with excellent picture quality than in the past. You can attribute lower prices in part to more competition and production capacity.

To get the most value and best performance, determine your budget and check this HDTV review to see what we recommend at that price. We don’t think you’ll save much by waiting until January. Last year, Super Bowl promotions were no better than holiday deals. Aside from clearance prices on specific TVs, we might not see prices in general drop significantly until next fall. Check our Electronics Blog throughout the holiday season for up-to-the-minute price news. “

Source

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