Sony SRS-DB500 2.1ch PC speakers review: Homely entertainment system

Ugly looking, heavy to carry and obscenely big, there is a lot not to like about the Sony SRS-DB500s. As I struggled off the bus with them and awkwardly tried to keep the box from dropping down the road, I had already formulated 300 choice words about the 300W 2.1 ch PC speakers, none of them complimentary. Then I plugged them in and almost all was forgiven.

sony-srs-db500

Yes the sub-woofer is absurdly large, almost the same size as an upturned printer. But the bass! I pumped some Augustus Pablo through and was more than pleased with the performance from the sub. There is a large glowing volume knob and two buttons that allow you to tweak the bass and the treble settings. Don’t touch these – you get better results using your PC’s digital EQ.

There is also an auxiliary input function so you can hook up a friend’s PMP, or anything with a 3.5 mm jack really. There is also a rudimentary remote control with input selection, volume, treble, bass and on/off functionality. Batteries are not included.

The two square, blocky-looking satellites, whilst less impressive than the sub-woofer, still dominate any desk they sit on and take up a bit too much space for my liking.

Tossing my Augustus Pablo CD to one side (The excellent Rockers Meets King Tubbys In A Firehouse) I threw in Jungle Mania and was again delighted with the results – although my flatmates considerably less so.

So for sheer audio quality the SRS-DB500s impress – it’s a reliable PC speaker with deep bass and an … well a polite way to say it would be an imposing look.

However the price is a little steep at £199 – much better than the cheaper PC speakers out there but the same price as the gorgeous Auluxe Dew speakers we reviewed here. If you dig the look of the SRS-DB500s then you will walk away happy. If you want something slight smaller with an equally pretty punch take a good look (and listen) at the Dew. Or check out the 5.1 SRS-DB511s which are designed to attact “Gen-Y PC users” and which I’ve been reliably informed are the new hotness.

TWIG: Logmein Ignition iPad app, Edifier Soundbar USB, Sony 3D HD projector

The Week in Gadgets

It has been another busy week in the world of gadgets. IFA in Berlin saw the unveiling of numerous interesting gadgets – Epson’s top of the range projectors, Samsung’s Galaxy Tab, HP’s Envy laptops and much much more. We will be looking over a range of releases in more detail over the coming week. Apple released a slew of new iPods and finally updated the Apple TV. We had some initial thoughts here. Twitter released an iPad client with a futuristic and challenging UI. Meanwhile XBMC-based media server Plex could be built directly into DLNA enabled LG TVs. As my main moan with mainstream media servers is that they lack the elegance of XBMC, this is potentially the answer to sereval of my prayers.

Edifier-Soundbar

Edifier, who made the affordable Opera shaped Prisma speakers have released a Soundbar USB – a micro speaker system with a specially designed bass reflection port. Doing exactly what is says on the tin, the Soundbar is a easy way to beef up underpowered laptop speakers, or provide a little more oomph to your audio when you are on the go. Yours for £49.99.

Flying in the face of Epson’s bold claims that the world (or image quality rather) is not ready for 3D projectors Sony released its first 3D home cinema projector, the VPL-VW90ES. Projecting in Full HD 1080p (of course) Sony’s headfirst push into the world of 3D continues and the VW90ES uses active shutter glasses and an upgraded version of Sony’s 240Hz Panel which is supposed to minimise cross talk. Out in Europe in November, we are keen to take a look and see if the image quality passes muster.

Sony-3D-projector

iPad owners keen to work some VPN magic on their tablets should head to the App store and check out the latest update to LogMeIn Ignition – one of the better remote access apps that gives access and more importantly control to your desktop or laptop from your iPad. I’ve tried quite a few remote access apps for the iPad whilst the idea sounds great, actual day to day use is next to impossible – the all powerful WIMP paradigm just doesn’t helpfully translate to the multitouch era. LogMeIn recognise this and have worked hard to simulate a multitouch workflow – supporting pinching, swiping and left and right mouse clicks. Unfortunately, you still have to “learn” how to use the app – a little hints dialogue opens on log in, reminding you of the various gestures. However, once learned (and being honest it doesn’t take all that long) it is reasonably easy to select windows, transfer files or switch views in a multiple monitor setup.

The LogMeIn Ignition for iPad and iPhone app can be downloaded from Apple’s App Store for a one-time charge of £17.99 and the update is freely available to existing Ignition owners.