TruLink 4-Port HDMI Selector Switch: Helping your HDMI devices learn how to share

We’ve been playing with TruLink products for sometime now and they have a solid history of producing reliable little widgets that help your gadgets play nicely with each other. They remind me of and old Demetri Martin joke about they way to fortune isn’t necessarily being an amazing inventor but being a guy who makes screws and being around an amazing inventor. That way every time some says “I think I’m going to build a bridge” you can stand right beside them and say “You’ll probably need some screws.”

TruLink-4-Port-HDMI-Selector-Switch

The problem with HDMI is that it is relatively new. As a result, many flat-panel TVs only have a few HDMI inputs (which at the time probably seemed excessive), but gaming consoles, receivers and DVRs all output in HDMI. So noting the proliferation of HDMI equipped boxes all vying for space in your TV or AV receiver (even phones pack HDMI ports nowadays) Trulink have introduced the TruLink 4-Port HDMI Selector Switch by CablesToGo.

Like most TruLink products we’ve looked at, the 4-Port HDMI Selector Switch has a wonderful “does what it says on the tin” quality to it and provide additional high definition digital inputs for your DVD players, Blu-ray players, HD-DVD players, gaming consoles, Sky box and cameras. The device is also compatible with most HDMI 3D devices allowing you to switch between 3D devices on your 3D display. And nice sleek black box with big shiny select/power button on the front, the 4-Port HDMI Selector Switch fits in nicely with most home theatre systems. Three of the ports are, as you would expect, housed around the back of the device, with port 4 located at the front – which is handy when you think about various devices that you might want to plug into the box – cameras, camcorders, mobile phones or tablets. There’s also a super simple remote control that lets you easily power on and toggle between inputs.

The CablesToGo TRULink 4-Port HDMI Selector Switch is available immediately through retailers including Amazon from £86.50,

Toshiba’s ZL2 TV gives you 3D viewing without the specs

Even though 3D is still not a convincing enough medium to have cracked the home market, television manufacturers seem convinced that ultimately it will be and so doggedly pursue ways and means to tempt up into going for it. The problem has always been the glasses you have to wear to enjoy the 3D experience.

Toshiba-Glasses-Free-Pillow-Fight

So imagine a 55 inch LCD television that gives you a cracking 3D image without having to look like someone auditioning for Joe 90. Yes, those dodgy specs can finally be binned.. Not only that, this telly has face recognition technology in it too, so no matter where you are in the room you’ll get the best possible image. And what’s more it can handle up to nine people at the same time. That’s pretty serious technology that is. In a way you’ve lost the specs but gained more spec if you get my drift.

This amazing glasses-free 3D technology is based on the principle of simultaneously delivering one normal picture for the left eye, and another one with a slightly offset parallax view for the right eye. Then, a range of lenticular lenslets deliver the 3D image to each viewer.

Not content to just deliver deliberate 3D images to us, the ZL2’s CEVO engine which incorporates a Quad Full HD display  offering  up to 3840 x 2160, converts ordinary 2D into sparking 3D right before your very eyes, so your standard DVD’s Blu Ray and live broadcasts can all benefit from a bit 3D magic.

Sonically, the ZL2 has a built in sub woofer and as part of the overall package you get 4 HDMI ports and wifi which by connecting through your home router you can turn you iPhone into a remote control .through a downloadable app.

The only drawback to all this luscious technology is the price which is reputed to be eye watering.

Pioneer BDP-140: Networking and 3D Blu-ray media powerhouse

The Pioneer BDP-140 is the first model from Pioneer’s new 3D Blu-ray player range. With the high level of competition, it’s a difficult market to enter, so Pioneer have picked a unique selling point: it’s all about the networking.

BDP140

The BDP-140 has an Ethernet port (for wired integration), as well as wifi (via the Pioneer AS-WL300 wireless LAN converter) to connect the 3D Blu-ray player to your home network. This’ll unleash a wealth of content options.

By hooking up 3D Blu-ray with the internet, users will be able to use BD-Live to stream web-based extras onto the system.

An internet-connected BDP-140 also brings YouTube videos and Picasa photo albums to your TV, utilising the same interface used for all the other types of playback. Other developers, take note: a unified interface is key to internet TV.

The player is also DLNA certified, so video, audio and photo from compatible computers (or tablets/phones) can be streamed straight to the device and onto the big screen.

The supported formats include MKV, DivX Plus HD, WMV and MP3, plus a JPEG viewer for photo slideshows – all playable via CD, DVD, USB or LAN.

A real killer-feature is the iPhone and Android remote control app. As long as the player is connected to the internet, Pioneer’s iControlAV2 app allows wireless control of playback and navigation functions.

It wouldn’t be much of Pioneer product without great sound – and so you’ll find support for a broad range of audio and video disc types, as well as a developed multi-channel audio experience.

High-definition audio formats like Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio are supported, outputted natively as bitstream or decoded internally and output as uncompressed multi-channel LPCM on HDMI. For non-audiophiles, the means sweet sound.

And – like all Pioneer products, it comes in a wonderful bachelor black – the industry standard for serious audio/visual hardware.

Budding wildlife photographers rejoice with the launch of the Samsung WB750!

Compact, digital cameras seem to be fixated on delivering more sophisticated and proficient lenses in recent months, a focus, which I believe, is well overdue.  The latest camera to be promoting its assets predominantly on its lens is Samsung’s new WB750, which, in featuring the longest ever zoom in the company’s compact camera portfolio, “takes you further and faster than ever before”.

Samsung-WB750

Asides from its 18x Optical Zoom, 24x Smart-Zoom and 24mm Ultra Wide Angle Lens, meaning users can actually manipulate an image to their likening prior to taking the shot, the WB750 does seem to be bulging with innovative goodies. Topping its internal ‘goodie’ list must be the camera’s 12.5 megapixel BSI CMOS sensor. This is the first time, we are told, that Samsung has introduced its pioneering BSI CMOS technology to its compact camera range, which is designed to reduce distortion and replace it with clear, precise images and videos, even in low-lit conditions, whilst reducing image noise. This, alongside a high speed continuous still shot of 10fps and a movie recording speed of up to 1000 fps, means the WB750 delivers impeccable quality in real-time.

Also ranking high in its internal goodie bag is the camera’s Creative Movie Maker function. This creative feature means users can create a fun and shareable slide show in four easy steps. Impressive effects and music can be added to a movie on the camera itself without having to load it to a PC.

Panoramic shots are heavily focused on with Samsung’s latest toy. In featuring Live Panorama, 3D Panorama or Action Panorama, users have the option of capturing those unforgettable sights and memories with a depth and clarity usually lost in the less refined of digital cameras.

This dedication to producing images that standout brings me swiftly on to the WB750’s HDR – High Dynamic Range. Not just realistic, but, Samsung assure us, ‘hyper-realistic’ images can be achieved with the HDR function, as it opens up the colour spectrum for the ‘most vibrant results’.

Long gone are the days when a stubborn subject – namely a child or a dog – refuses to keep still while having their photo taken and the net result being an unrecognisable and completely hopeless photo with a blurred subject! As in containing an Intelligent Object Tracking feature, the camera automatically focuses on an object even whilst in motion – Could be a great choice for any budding wildlife photographers out there, whereby getting a shot of a wild animal in frame is often nigh impossible!

ViewSonic’s V3D245 3D monitor literally leaps out on to the market.

Its all well and good being the proud owner of the latest 3D ready technology, but none of it will be much good without shelling out for the extra hardware you need to view it all.

ViewSonic-3D-Monitor

All that is a thing of the past as far as ViewSonic is concerned, as its new V3D245 24 inch 3D monitor comes ready to impress with a pair of NVIDIA 3D vision glasses thrown in. Smart thinking ViewSonic.

This is a full HD LED monitor displaying 1920×1080 and using its 120 hz refresh rate and the built in NVIDIA wireless emitter, it will potentially throw you into the deep and of a stutter free 3D world if you have enough guts in your PC or player to drive it at full HD. Talking of players, you can hook up a Blu- Ray or Playstation3 using the integrated HDMI 1.4 connector, although if you’re looking for an all in one vision and audio solution, I wouldn’t get too excited about the onboard 2x2W speaker set.

The LED 2ms video output with 20,000,000:1 dynamic contrast ratio and 300 nits high brightness provides what ViewSonic suggests to be “unsurpassed image quality.”

James Coulson, ViewSonic’s. European marketing manager comments “This is the ultimate monitor for any gamer or just anyone playing around with 3D technology. It’s a neat solution with the built in NVidia transmitter, that uses LED technology to bring better contrast ratios and significant power savings, but can then revert back to a high performance 2D monitor when required. Working with NVidia is paramount to making 3D emersion a reality and this product is proof of that.”

The ViewSonic V3D245 will be available in the UK for £350

Philips SENSOTOUCH 3D RQ 1280. Cutting edge wet or dry electric shaving

Well this is the first time I’ve used a 3D product without having to wear glasses and whilst the thought of my face jumping out at me from the mirror might be a fun concept for some people, it is, fortunately for me, something I don’t have to deal with. 3D in this case simply means the shaver covers every contour of your face to provide a ‘flawless look’. Clearly, searching for that ‘flawless look’ is something I’ve dreamt about but sadly in my case, having a clean shave will not change my less than flawless appearance.

Philips-Sensotouch

Nevertheless, this is a shaver that does indeed provide a handsome finish. A smooth shave with very little effort. It’s a sleek design, fitting in my hand comfortably enough, whilst the business end, three rotary cutters set within a head that moves in every direction does the hard work. This is what Philips calls ‘Gyroflex3D ’ technology, allowing the heads to easily glide over every pore of your face without irritating it. There’s also an aquatic seal built in for those of you who prefer a wet shave, so you can lather up as normal and just use it the same way as you would a blade.

So far so good then. I have a smooth face in double quick time and no red marks anywhere. Marvellous. Apart from the on/off switch, there’s very little else you need to look at apart from the large digital read out on the handle that lets you know how much time remains. It also tells you when the unit needs a clean, when the charge is full and when the heads need replacing.  There’s a handy travel pouch to keep it in when you’re away and the shaver heads just hinge open so you can use the brush provided to sweep away all the loose stubble or just rinse it under the tap. When you’re home though, the jet clean tray that comes with the package, will keep the insides pristine and practically sterile for you too.

My only real disappointment is the trimmer which seems to be a bit of an afterthought on such a state of the art unit. It’s tucked away on the shaver shaft and is accessed through a pretty basic plastic slider.

The Philips SENSOTOUCH 3D RQ 1280 is a fine example of just how far electric portable shavers have progressed. It’s quiet, sleek and gets the job done with a minimum of fuss. And with a 20 day charge on it, it will last you for most trips without having to recharge.

Philips SENSOTOUCH 3D RQ 1280 from £230

Viewsonic launches revamped PJD5 projectors

A lightweight, high clarity projector is a vital tool for anyone in the world of sales, marketing or teaching. It can bring a presentation to life, but equally, if it’s substandard, could ruin a perfect pitch.

Viewsonic-PJD

Seasoned US manufacturer ViewSonic has taken a good look at its PJD5 range and invigorated it with a spring clean and some added functionality.  With a sleeker and more optimised design, the overall size of the units has been reduced by 20% weighing in at just 2.6 kg. The main benefit to users however will be the improved colour and clarity which has been significantly enhanced. Using ViewSonic’s BrilliantColour technology, the PJD5 range now features 2,700 lumens and a contrast ratio of 3000:1 which can be fine tuned to suit any type of presentation.

There are five model choices in the range, and whilst all of the are 3D ready and capable of accepting 120Hz input from sources such as Sky 3D, 3D Bluray or Sony Playstation,  the PJD5123 comes with SVGA resolution, the PJD5223 and PJD5233 with XGA and the flagship  PJD5523w with both WXGA and HDMI.

Oddly though, the range doesn’t support USB or memory flash drive functionality which is an oversight considering how important mobile media is these days, but there is a mini USB port for a mouse.

Trevor Holt, ViewSonic’s European Product Manager comments “We have made subtle but important changes, such as introducing a built in presentation timer, mouse control function via the projector remote control and enhanced security with Kensington slot and security bar.   All these new features continue to differentiate ViewSonic projectors from our competitors.”

If you are into 3D just be aware that whilst the PJD5 range is ‘3D ready’ you will need an additional 3D processor (the VP3D1) and a pair of compatible active shutter glasses too.

For business users though, this looks to be an affordable and lightweight range that will do your presentations proud.

The models are available from £249 plus VAT.

LG Optimus 3D hands on review

LG invited us down to their Play Hub – a massive movable experience centre they had laid out in the middle of Central London where they attempted to lure members of the general public in to experience the magic of glasses free 3D for photography, gaming and movies, all on a handheld device – the new LG Optimus 3D. So was it a moving experience?

LG-Optimus-3D

If you don’t know, the Optimus 3D uses an innovative and powerful tri-dual architecture of dual-core, dual-channel and dual-memory making it a snappy workhorse, ready for most tasks that are thrown at a modern smartphone – the uses of which are expanding daily. It’s helped along by the extended battery life and the 1,500 mAh battery – despite all the 3D heavy lifting the handset has to do.

Equipped with a 5-megapixel dual lens camera, the Optimus 3D allows users to capture and record both 2D and 3D images and video and with 8GB of internal memory you can store and view them all directly on the handset (expandable up to 32GB).  We had a bit of a play with the camera (there was a Harley Davidson and a desert backdrop for us to re-enact EZ Rider fantasies on) and the image quality was decent. The 3D photography was fun although admittedly a lot of that was down to the novelty of glasses-free 3D. We didn’t have enough time to engage in some serious photography (merely take some “woah this is in 3D” style shots, many of which will flood Flickr in the coming months) some of the supplied images were quite creative and I’m sure with enough talent there are interesting new images to be made.

If you’ve not held an Optimus 3D the size comes as a bit of a surprise. I have medium-sized hands and was a little taken aback by how huge the handset seemed. Then again, when you are gaming, playing with a digital imaging app or watching a video the bright 4.3-inch 3D screen comes in handy. Gaming was fast and responsive. I had a quick play on N.O.V.A 3D and Asphalt 6, which come included on the phone along with Let’s Golf.

If you view a lot of media on your phone – in 3D or otherwise – then the Optimus 3D is definitely a handset you should have a play with.

For more information visit: www.lg.com/uk/optimus3d