Hardware Reviews

Musical Fidelity EB-50 In-Ear Monitors

Musical Fidelity EB-50 Hardware Review - ECM Plus - www.ecmplus.com

By ECM Plus Reviews

MUSICAL FIDELITY EB-50 In Ear Monitors / Headphones
www.musicalfidelity.com

ECM Plus +++ /Reviews/: Musical Fidelity EB-50 In-Ear Monitors

Better known perhaps around the world for their hign-end audio separates, Musical Fidelity’s first foray into headphones and in-ear monitoring is a bold adventure given the market is so heavily penetrated by big names such as Sennheiser, AKG, Grado, Beyer Dynamic and the usual morass of hi-fi manufacturers.

So for a veritable Rolls-Royce of audio to enter such a busy market must mean but one thing and one thing alone: they have something to say.

And they do. These cutesy little critters, tiny and lightweight in physical stature, are no lightweights in the sonic capability department.

WHAT’S IN THE BOX

– EB-50 In-ear monitor headphones
– 7 pairs of interchangeable ear plugs for different ear sizes
– plug adapters: two pin for airliners / 6.35mm / 1/4″ adapter
– ear clip mount / wire-mounted clothing clip
– carry pouch

We tested the EB-50 on a range of musical content sources, genres and devices.

In all of them without exception, the EB-50 stood head and shoulders – and ears – above the competition in the price bracket. And then some.

Forgive the pun, but there was something almost ‘musical’ about the EB-50s, particularly on classical music, piano and strings particularly seem to benefit from the EB-50s open character. That said, the in-ear monitors performed equally well on hardcore heavy metal and punk rock, bringing out all the top end frequencies of cymbals and guitar harmonics as well as thunderous bass and wide swept mids.

There is an in-line button on the rubberized cable, similar to those found on mobile phones and mp3 players for muting microphones etc, but the one on the EB-50 seems to have no effect and does not mute audio nor act as any kind of in-line volume control.

Weighing in at an earlobe stress free couple of ounces, the Musical Fidelity EB-50 in-ear monitors have a flat frequency response across the audible sound spectrum that offers a transparent and open soundstage.

CONCLUSION

Content creators and studio producers will benefit greatly from in-ear monitors such as the Musical Fidelity EB-50, given it has the veritable ‘Holy Grail’ of all – a ruler-flat frequency response – essential in any sonic audio creation environment. And for hi-fi purists who would rather not cart around electrostatic headphones or high-end beryllium equivalents, these come in right where they are needed and hit the spot on so many levels. Even feedback sounds good through these babies.

Joking aside, the flat frequency response will be a boon to all users, whether they realise it or not, the transparency and lack of colouration will remain true to the source material, whether it be vinyl, tape, CD digital or mp3/FLAC formats etc. The whole user experience with these ear plugs is rewarding and a pleasure.


ECM PLUS VERDICT: – 5/5 – “RECOMMENDED

 


Related links:

ECM Plus Reviews

Musical Fidelity – www.musicalfidelity.com


Sandberg Mini DVD Burner

Sandberg Mini DVD Burner 133-66

Model 133-66 – Portable storage and media creation takes to the road

By ECM Plus Tech Labs

Sandberg’s DVD Writer is a small, portable USB 2.0 device that is powered via the 5v supply from the Universal Serial Bus data channel, and only requires a standard USB data cable to operate.

The drive is slim and attractive, about the same dimension as a laotop’ in-built CD/DVD drive, and comes plug-and-play ready to roll.

Under WIndows 7, the drive is detected immediately and is ready to use out-of-the-box. On our test Windows 7, we used a standard CD/DVD writing software app that comes bundled on Toshiba computers, and within moments, was burning audio mp3 files to a blank CD. The burn time is very fast, and unlike systems of yesteryear, seems quite happy for the user to do other things on the system while waiting for the burn process to finalize.

We did have some problems using the drive under Windows XP, the test machine for which is a standard workhorse office system Dell desktop Pentium 4 machine. During connection of the wires, it was observed that as the power supply cable was inserted, the dreaded ‘Blue Screen of Death’ (BSOD) occured, causing a system lock-up, with an error message indicating a problem with the USB driver.

However, this may be an isolated case, as it was an unconventional way to connect the drive. Howerer, on connecting the drive to a spare USB slot on this XP machine, it appeared that the power supply of 5v was not being received and the drive wanted more power for it to operate. Hence the attempted connection of the included USB-derived power connector cable.

After a reboot, the system loaded normally without any adverse affects.

The tests on the Windows 7 machine proved to be very succesful and the Sandberg appears to operate flawlessly under most standard operating procedures.

Conclusion

With so many bad memories that users may have of overburns, buffer underruns and other quirks when burning optical disks, it is refreshing to see that the manufacturers of such devices have finally managed to make them ‘just work’ for users, as they always ought to have done in the first place, so top marks to the Sandberg people for making sure their DVD Burner does just that.


Pros: Slim, portable and reliable

Cons: Slightly dubious under XP, but not too much of a problem

VERDICT: 4/5 – RECOMMENDED


Sandberg


Magix Rescue Your Videotapes 4.0

SCART connector, photo taken in Sweden

Wave goodbye to dusty old tapes…

by ECM Plus Labs

ECM Plus +++ When it comes to valuable digital assets, few would argue that old family videos and precious moments from our cultural heritage, birthdays, Christmas morning, family weddings, first steps, proud father, Mother’s Day, and so on and so forth, are those moments that many families have made Olde Worlde tape-based videos of, but are in large part, currently languishing in a dusty box in the garage or in the attic.

Which is, of course, sacrilege.

The digital age, despite its benefits of convenience and clever graphickery, has been a disaster in terms of cutting families and people off from their memories. Few of us still retain VCR machines or cassette decks, and yet over twenty years of our heritage was trapped on that erstwhile technology.

Enter the White Knight.

Magix Rescue Your Videotapes! 4.0 is the latest version of a godsend of a hardware/software solution that changes all of the above into a veritable Second Coming of all your lovely old memories. Indeed, the footage of granny in the egg and spoon race will soon be splashed in all its glory not across that crappy old Decca CRT tube, no, instead it will festoon the latest HD 1080p LED TFT big flat screens. Time warp? Indeed. And what’s more, it works.

Installation

Our Windows 7 test machine loads the installed DVD full of drivers and apps quite transparently.

The cable pack includes everything needed to interface the old VCR interfaces with the current USB 2.0 digital port. The cables boast SCART – both in and out via an onboard switch on the SCART cable – as well as composite SVHS and phono coaxial video (yellow), audio left (white) and audio right (red) female connectors. It’s as easy as it gets.

The user is asked whether the want to utilise the MPEG-2 format or the MXY proprietary format. We opted for the latter.

The registration process was fairly straightforward, which unlocks the program and the user can then move on straight to connecting up their VCR or other analogue source to commence the transfers.

And that is pretty much all you need to do. Within minutes, your precious videos are streaming across the analogue to digital converters into some nice, safe digital format.

Conclusion

Magix is becoming quite a market mover and shaker in the digital media and content space, and even has a professional division called Magix Pro which caters for all manner of pro audio and video users, so the legacy of the firm suggest tech support and after sales care would also be of a high standard. For those who have assets, libraries of memories, old footage of film, other content on tape, this Magix solution is for you. And it just works, a sure sign of satisfaction.

Pros: One of the few systems on the market that actually do what they claim, without glitches.

Cons: None

VERDICT: 5/5 – HIGHLY RECOMMENDED


Plustek OptiBook 3800 Book Scanner

Optibook 3800 scanner

Specially-designed to scan books, without the dreaded ‘shady-spine-bending’ of traditional scanners

By PAUL QUIGLEY

ECM Plus +++ Many people these days are throwing out their old flatbed scanners for more ‘upright’ pert multifunction devices, which makes the debut of new flatbed machines that much more challenging.

Except where said flatbed is, in fact, what many had been hoping and dreaming of for many a long year – a scanner that is dedicated to scanning books.

Yes, scanning books. Without those ugly, bent and distorted centre areas which scoop up, up and away into a vortex of illegible gibberish at the spinal area of valued tomes. No more said vorices of chaos. Gone are the days when you had to ‘guess’ what the author wrote as their valued, edited text vanishes in the murky darkness.

Say hello to a proper job. Yes folks, book scans done the way mother meant them to be done. Not half-arsed excuses, a second thought, a Heath-Robinson pathetic effort, nay, no more, never. Long gone. Plustek’s OptiBook 3800 is a veritable joy to use. Installs lile a dream, standard TWAIN compliant, works with all your existing software apps, and comes with a raft of newby versions of OCR and others in case you’re short on those. No problem.

In operation, scans are quick and good, standard 300dpi is the default, though clicking up to 600dpi for those especially valued digital assets is just as snappy these days.

The secret with scanners is, then, transparency. Not transparencies, but the transparency of being as effortless to use and just flinging open a book at a given page, scanning it in and reading a digital rendition of it on screen and stored as a PDF, TIF or JPG – and that’s exactly what the 3800 can do, with ease, little fanfare, and that, at the end of the day, is all people want.

No more faffing around with setup configuration time, choosing areas to scan (thought all these aspects can be tweaked to suit if one really wants to go in deep), so that the user ends up focusing on what they want to do and doesn’t get trapped in a tech time warp battling against driver installs and hourglass downtime.

So, in summastion, the OptiBook 3800 is as good as it gets for those of us who still own paper books and want to preserve key pages on our computers. For standard A4 work, the 3800 works flawlessly too, as one might expect, and the device itself is lightweight and easy to move about with its USB connection.

Conclusion

In a world where everyone and their dog seems to be dipping a toe into the murky waters of e-readers, Kindles and the like, the transmogrification of technology has well and truly arrived in the publishing – and self-publishing worlds. The arrival of solid, feature-rich book scanners will only accelerate the move from paper-based bookery to e-books in all their proprietary formats. For academia, lawyers and the like, a scanner such as the Optibook 3800 is a god send to get the job done.

Verdict: 4/5 – RECOMMENDED


Verbatim Go Mini Optical USB Travel Mouse

Verbatim Go Mini USB Optical Travel Mouse

Small is beautiful when it comes to popping a cutesy yet fully-functional mobile rodent in your grab-bag

By ECM Plus Reviews

ECM Plus +++ Despite the fact that notebook computers now come with embedded trackpoint or trackpads, the need for the precision and externality of an traditional mouse cannot be understated.

And, given that many notebook computers, after a year or two of constant use, often witness the untimely death of the trackpoint itself – hence rendering the entire units entirely useless – unless one has one of these babies that plug right in to any USB port, and et voila, full service is resumed.

With its retractable and slinky USB cable – which is really l-o-n-g when fully extended, a boon for presenters – and its cute, portable design, the Verbatim Go Mini Optical Travel Mouse really is designed to fit easily in any pocket or laptop bag. Costing next to nothing, the usefulness of having such an accessory on board is an insurance policy in itself, even if one doesn’t use it straight away.

The unit fits comfortably right into even the smallest hand – in fact, such a device could be just perfect your youngsters getting their start in the IT world – and has all of the functionality of its big brother counterpart, resplendent with scroll wheel with its own click function, standard left and right buttons and contoured body.

Go Mini is available in four colours; Black, Hot Pink, Volcanic Orange and Caribbean Blue. It has a 1000 dpi optical lens and can be used in either the left or right hand. The unit also boasts a two year warranty.

All in all, such a device is an essential .Seamless in installation, it just works. Which is what we all want at the end of the day. Get one. Rest easy. Small really is still beautiful.

Verdict: 5/5 RECOMMENDED

Pros: Size, portability and seamless installation.

Cons: None observed


Verbatim Executive 500Gb USB3.0 External HDD

Verbatim Executive 500Gb HDD

Portable drive with encrpytion, backup and power saving functionality

By ECM Plus Reviews

ECM Plus +++ With the rise and rise of private cloud, NAS boxes and SSD portable media, the role of localised storage will always be as important if not more so than entrusting one’s priceless personal data to the vagaries of a remote public cloud, where one’s data may be lost, deleted, or simply vanish forever as happened to Flickr in recent times.

Enter then the good old USB hard disk drive, boasting 256 AES encryption, it goes like the proverbial off a stick, giving FireWire a run for its money.

With the raft of software now on offer for this drive, application installation needs to have full attention paid to it – and not to assume this is just any old external HHD as users will be missing out on a lot of fine features that they will find indispensable given some patience to get their data on to this drive.

Said concentration will pay dividends later, as the features are really rather good. It has a green feature which will intelligently power down the drive rotation after a period of inactivity, saving on the extortionate electricity bills we all have to pay these days. Every little helps.

An Automatic backup app is also bundled with the drive, all Verbatim badged apps too, which seem sensible to install onto a user’s computer – either PC-compatible of Mac apps provided – and then one can decide later whether or not to uninstall these bundled apps, when one finds oneself either using or not using them. Unlike may pieces of computer hardware which come bundled with ‘Lite’ versions of expensive software, this drive has only useable apps, a nice change indeed. User manuals for the apps come in PDF format on the drive itself, so backup the drive to your local HDD before formatting.

Indeed, the next decision you need to make before you transfer your valuable data back and forth, is whether you want to format the drive as NTFS or FAT32 – whichever is applicable. File sizes over 4GB will require an NTFS partition to be created, for files under that limit, FAT32 should suffice for most. The app to do this comes bundled with the drive itself, so even if you decide later to alter that decision, that’s possible too. Which is good.

Then, its’ over to the user to decide on how they want to use this device. To take advantage of the blisteringly fast USB3.0 capability, one’s computer needs to be equipped with just such a chipset. However, most users will be perfectly happy with the USB2.0 fast universal serial bus speed of 480Mbps, backwards compatible for each USB generation, so again, all fine there too.

In operation, file transfer is as you would expect, seamless and transparent, the only cautionary note is to remember to copy the files off the Verbatim drive to your local hard drive as a backup.

Beyond that, the physical characteristics are of a relatively large, flat 2.5″ drive casing in hard plastic, which has no discernible screws on so you can’t open up the case to examine the manufacturer of the drive – whether its Seagate, WD, Fujitsu, Hitachi or whoever – not an issue for most, but just in case (sic) attempting to prise open this baby might end in tears as it’s clearly not been designed for this – so bear in mind the old term on computer and electronic hardware – ‘no user serviceable parts inside’ – heed that and you can’t go far wrong.

Resplendent in its fitted felt bag, the drive is a real performer and hopefully should stand up to years of service, though the hard plastic case of such drives always leaves some room for concern, as they can crack when dropped onto hard surfaces and may then impair the ability of the USB lead to stay fitted to the drive’s interface. A lightweight aluminium exterior case may have been a wiser production choice.

Apart from that, the Verbatim Executive HDD range seems a fine addition to the raft of external USB hard drives out there vying for attention. Given that product differentiation in this space is nigh on impossible, the attention to the bundled apps seems then to be a smart move by Verbatim. Organising file backup and power saving features are also fairly commonplace too with other such drives these days, that the only real difference lett for vendors is the price point. And at around fifty or sixty quid a pop, there are many alternatives to choose from. Hence, companies like Verbatim are obviously banking on their brand reputation and after-sales suport services to make sure they stay at the forefront of the queue when buyers start lining up for their products instead of the compeition,

Pros: Good, thoughtful range of software apps bundled.

Cons: Hard plastic exterior case may cause concern if dropped onto hard surfaces in transit.


Verdict: 4/5 RECOMMENDED

www.verbatim.com


Plustek SmartOffice PS286 Plus scannner - ECM Plus Reviews - www.ecmplus.com

Plustek SmartOffice PS286 Plus

Even as the Internet has made online viewing and transferring of documents more commonplace, the rise and rise of document capture continues unabated. Driven in no small part by increasing levels of compliance and red tape bureaucratic processes imposed by the burgeoning ‘jobsworth’ industry of central state ‘regulations’ and nannying ‘procedures’, a good scanner is your best friend in the home or office these days, with the need for nifty scanners for personal document capture continuing at breakneck speed.

Enter then such devices as the new Plustek SmartOffice PS286 Plus workgroup-class document scanner, designed with the image quality, paper handling and reliability required by the most demanding business users but at a price point attractive to home and SOHO users.

The small size and footprint of the SmartOffice PS286 Plus make it appropriate for office, front desk or portable scanning tasks.

The 50 page Automatic Document feeder and 1500 page per day duty cycle tell you this scanner is built to scan documents in any application requiring frequent document and rigid card scanning. The SmartOffice PS286 Plus is designed to scan business documents up to 14″ long and rigid cards, such as drivers’ licenses, up to 1.2mm thick, without operator adjustments. A3 sized documents can also be scanned using the A3 scan mode and included A3 protection jacket. Mixed batches of documents can be scanned without sorting thanks to the class leading paper handling and image processing.

The PS286 Plus boasts single Touch buttons automate up to 9 different scanning jobs including: scan to searchable PDF, save to folder on your network or your computer, scan to email, scan to an application, scan to printer; built-in image processing insures the highest image quality, reduces rescans, and increases OCR accuracy; the included software productivity suite featuring ABBYY FineReader Sprint, allows you to easily create and manage searchable PDFs. Industry standard TWAIN drivers combined with TIF, JPG, PDF and Microsoft Office file formats ensure compatibility with thousands of scanning and imaging programs.

Features

The term ‘feature rich’ has become a bit of a cliche in the tech sector, but the PS286 can boldly claim such a tag with gay abandon. It really is just so endowed. It boasts:

– Duplex Scanning in Color, Grayscale or B/W

– Scans Rigid Cards including insurance cards, ID cards, drivers licenses etc

– Scans to searchable PDF

– 50 sheet Automatic Document Feeder

– 25ppm (50 images/min) Scan Speed

– 1500 page per day duty cycle

– Small footprint – easily transportable

– Single-touch customizable button automates up to 9 frequent scanning jobs (e.g., Scan to PDF, Scan to file, email, network share, copy, etc.)

– Advanced image enhancement to automatically straighten and rotate pages, adjust brightness, and crop images to minimize file size and increase OCR accuracy.

– Software productivity suite enables PDF, Microsoft Office, JPG TIF creation and management.

– Energy Star Certified

Features

– quick, portable and easy document scanning
– scan to Searchable PDF at the press of a button Scans a variety of document formats
– three color dropout modes for advanced OCR processing
– scans documents from legal size to business cards including embossed plastic cards.
– simplex and duplex color scanning in color, grayscale and B/W
– searchable PDF, JPG, mulit page TIFF, RTF, XLS file format support
nine Single Touch Buttons automate frequent scanning tasks.
– TWAIN Support – Features TWAIN drivers that are supported by thousands of imaging and document management applications.


Bundled Software

NewSoft Presto! ImageFolio 4.5

ImageFolio is a comprehensive multimedia image-processing program. You can create new images by using the ImageFolio’s powerful tools. This sophisticated set of image-editing tools enables you to quickly create new images or enhance pre-existing ones.

– Complete image-tuning functions.
– Easy to manage and preview image files.
– Monitor Gamma adjustment.
– TWAIN interface support for automatic fine-tuning during scanning.
– Support TIF, PCX, BMP, TGA, JPG, PCD, WMF, and PNG file format. (PC)


Plustek DI Capture

Image capture and management software featured with indexed archives. It also makes it easy to import, export, edit, and organize documents and images in an efficient way.

Hotcard BizCard Finder 3.0

BizCard Finder , provides BCR Technology and Photo /Document database for information management. Through BizCard Finder, you can quickly and easily convert the vital contact information on business cards into a convenient, searchable, digital database that can be easily synchronized between PC, NoteBook, and PDA

– Support Batch scan and Process
– Customize Category
– Calendar Reminding function
– Password Protection and Public Database management
– Browse image conveniently by the SlideShow applet
– Database backup and Merge management
– Multiple Sort function to search the available data easily
– Send email with images attached
– Multiple print option
– Slide Show
– Recognize Language: English, Chinese, Japanese, German, French, Spanish, Italian and Portuguese (For Business card database only)
– Synchronize /Export and Import in table format (For Business card database only)


Technical Specifications:

Optical Resolution – 600 dpi
Max. Hardware Resolution – 600 x 600 dpi
ADF Capacity – 50 sheets A4, 20 Business Cards
ADF Scanning Speed- 8 ppm/8 ipm (200 dpi, color mode, A4 )
Scan Area (W x L)
Max. 216 x 356 mm (8.5″ x 14″)
Min. 13.2 x 13.2 mm (0.52″ x 0.52″)
Acceptable Paper Sizes (W x L)
Max. 220 x 356 mm (8.66″ x 14″)
Min. 50.8 x 50.8 mm (2″ x 2″)
Acceptable Paper Weight for ADF
50 to 105 g/m2 (14 to 28 lb.)
Daily Duty Scan (Sheets)
1500
Roller Lifetime (Scans)
100000
Pad Lifetime (Scans)
20000 (Customer replaceable)
Power Adapter
24Vdc, 0.75 A
Interface
USB 2.0 High Speed
9 Function Keys
Scan, Copy, OCR, File, E-mail, Scan, Copy, BCR, File. All Customizable.
Physical Dimensions (W x D x H)
263 x 127.5 x 148 mm (10.36″ x 5.02″ x 5.83″)
Weight
1.66 Kgs (3.66 lb.)
Protocols
TWAIN Compliant

System Requirements
Pentium III 1G or faster CPU, CD-ROM Driver. USB Port, 256MB RAM (512 MB or higher recommended), 800 MB free HDD space (1 GB or larger recommended)
High Colour graphic card (VGA or higher), Windows XP, 2000, Vista, 7

Performance

In operation, the scanner is very quiet and uses up hardly any electricity at all, so is cheap to run – in these days of over-inflated energy corporation prices – so will be a pleasure to use without fear of bill shock.

The unit is made of rigid plastic in its casing, though certainly not feeling plasticky or unstable. It feels like a sturdy piece of office kit and should last. Scanning documentss is quick and quiet and the output results are quite stunning, and the fact that the PS286 comes bundled with searchable PDF software is an added bonus, and makes retrieving data so much easier than standard search or find tools in the operating system.

The included fifty page ADF, or Automatic Document Feeder, is a real bonus – these things used to cost a lot more to have added onto the older flatbed style scanner years, and yet is now a standard feature on such current models. One no longer need that level of manual intervention to load up and change out single sheet documents so saves a lot of time and misalignment issues.

Thin card sheets pass through the mechanism with ease and the reproduction quality is every bit as acceptable as the standard paper reproduction.

Conclusion

Whilst the PS286 is not a printer nor a photo producer, as with many of these current day multifunction devices which take up a similar desk footprint, the PS286 does what it claims to to and does it well, very well. The fact that it takes up hardly any space at all on tables or elsewhere, is a major boon.

VERDICT – 4/5 – RECOMMENDED

www.plustek.com


Verbatim 49095 Portable Audio Bar

ECM Plus Reviews...

ECM Plus +++ For content creators and road warriors alike, an independent source of audio is an important feature of any multimedia device. Sadly, many in-built audio systems are inadequate or undeer-specified for the job at hand.

Which is where a device such as the 49095 Portable Audio Bar comes in. Bus powered by the 5v power supply of the USB 2.0 bus, the audio device intalls as a native USB audio device under Windows 7 and is in addition to any other audio devices installed on the system. The unit is simplicity itself. It just does independent stereo audio via USB. That’s it. For systems that have no audio chip on the motherboard of any other sound card installed, the Verbatim 49095 is a god-send. The speakers themselves are small but relatively detailed considering the size of their inbuilt drivers, and the casing appears to be sleek and attractive in piano black, and should fit in with most colour-conscious users.

Verdict

The 49095 makes no claims on audiophile nirvana, this is not an area where this baby wants to live, no, this is a Swiss army knife audio output unit that does what it says on the tin. And it does it well. Volume is software-controlled from the audio software app it’s installed with, so no crackly rotating volume knobs or switches to go wrong here. The 49095 does what it purports to do, and does it well.

ECM PLUS VERDICT: 4/5 – RECOMMENDED

Product Specifications

The Verbatim Portable USB Audio Bar is USB plug’n’play compatible and lightweight making it very portable. It is also a perfect speaker for desktop use. There is no requirement for an additional sound card as this speaker contains 2 x 40mm x 20mm pre-amplified magnetically shielded metal drivers for perfect digital sound. Two year limited warranty.

www.verbatim.com/


Verbatim eSATA/USB3.0 32GB SSD Drive

Verbatim 3
Verbatim goes USB3.0 to augment eSATA in new SSD drive. Image: simonrobic

Compact and bijou – with some added extras thrown in for good measure

ECM Plus +++ The sleek and elegant Verbatim eSATA/USB 32Gb Pocket SSD is a god-send for content creators and manipulators – the size in the hand is far-outweighed by the size of the generous capacity legroom inside the packet itself.

The cable, as with all drives, is the Achilles heel, in that without it, as with the baby-sized flash usb pen drives around, without the cable, the eSATA/USB-based drive is rendered somewhat helpless, given that it has an eSATA connector on the body of the unit. That said, the fact that it will connect to either eSATA or the plentiful USB drive slots is a major boon. Oh did I mention, it’s USB3.0 – so that means it goes like stink.

This cutesy little number is sexy, sleek and an all round-boon for big data content shifters of all persuasions.

Speedwise, having been used to nippy SCSI and SATA drives over the years, the Verbatim SSD is surprisingly nimble, with no ostensible propensity to be sluggish, in fact quite the opposite, and the real boon is yet to come.

Silence.

This drive makes no noise whatsoever – it’s quiet as the proverbial mouse and has no moving parts so is fantastic for quiet environments. Also, for energy-conscious people, the drive is cool as a cucumber and makes no untoward hot drive syndrome, unlike the HDs of yesteryear.

That said, the aluminium case it comes in is coolness personfied, so it’s no surprise that this little device manages to keep the warm in and still go like the clappers even when shifting big files back and forth.

A nice touch also is the inclusion of backup software, a version of Nero to be precise, which is  bundled along with the drive already in a directory on the SSD.

Then, with a nice velvety bag to slide the drive into for portability, it’s an all-round god-send for the mid-size file movers and shakers.

Then there’s the weight: now most of you will have heard of the concept of weighlessness especially in the context of space flight, but this little beauty is almost the personifcation of weighlessness tech – apart from the case, aluminium is light anyway, the whole thing is mere ounces and feel almost as if its an empty case, it really is that light.

So, a lightweight in the physical sense yes, but far from a lightweight in what it provides to data content-hungry people today.

In conclusion, a great performer, reliable and highly recommended.

www.verbatim.com/


Nexus SM-7000 Silent Wireless Mouse with Nano 2.4GHz USB Receiver

ECM Plus Reviews - Nexus SM-7000

By ECM Plus – April 2011
For those enterprises that require absolute peace and quiet in their operational surroundings for their business processes to go ahead, such as in the broadcast media and for creatives concentrating on design and similar cerebral tasks, ambient noise has always been a major headache.

Clicks, bangs, fan-noise, and all manner of distractions can cause havoc. Particularly for people using computers in quiet places such as libraries, surgeries, studios and the like, having everything under control includes PC hardware noise.

One of the few afterthoughts, then, has been the clicky mouse. On desktops the world over, the mouse has seen a transformation from wired to wireless, but not from noisy, clicky to noiseless so much. Enter the Nexus SM-7000 series of quiet mice, then, which will be a godsend to those who need absolute, or near absolute quiet to do their thing.

Available in sleek black or ipod white tones, the rubberised devices are ergonomic and comfortable in the hand – the right hand – the unit we reviewed was solely for right-handes users, as the contour of the body would not fit in a left-hand – having said that, and that is the only caveat, the rest of the device’s ergonomics are its forte – the right and left mouse buttons no longer make that trebly clicky sound, but appear to have been dampened down to such an extent that it will no longer cause distraction or sonic strife for studio workers or recordists working on PC-based processes.

Verdict:

Very comfortable to use, and the difference in sound quality is marked. Compared to conventional ‘clicky’ mouse buttons, the Nexus SM-7000 has a dampening method that will be a god-send to those users who need peace and quiet.


ECM Plus TV…coming soon…

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