Currys and PC World Christmas range preview

LatestGadgets were invited to a preview of the new Christmas ranges for Currys and PC World.

3D is very much in demand for TVs, gaming and cameras with an explosion of products set to launch this year and it is expected that 25% of TVs at Currys and PC World will be 3D by December. Sky are launching their 3D channel this year. The PS3 has the capability for 3D now and there are 3D cameras launching this winter.

The most outstanding 3D TV was the Samsung 55C9000. The Samsung UE55C9000 55″ Full HD 3D LED TV has a 3D HyperReal Engine and mega contrast technology and at 7.98mm thin, it is one the slimmest televisions around. However, at £6999.00, it is also one of the most expensive. We also got to see Devil May Cry played in 3D on a laptop. There was real depth to the image and brought a whole new experience to playing Devil May Cry and made me want to play it all over again.

This month, Currys and PC World are introducing a new range of exclusive home electronic brands, which will include basic utility products as well as higher end technology. The brand is designed to combine functionality and aesthetics without the big brand price tag. Think “the IKEA of technology”. For example, the Sandstrom S40LDIB10 is a 40” Full LED TV with High Contrast Dynamic technology, which at £749.99, is pretty decent value.

Advent, the well established range of PCs and laptops at PC World, will be launching a range of personalised laptop covers. Unlike the skins which you can currently get to cover the casing, these replace the casing and look durable. You can select an image from 500 options or upload a photo and have it put on the case, so you can have a picture of your family or holiday on your laptop.

Digital cameras have seen considerable innovation with manufacturers developing features to differentiate from the competition. Here are some the most innovative cameras. The compact Samsung PL100 has not 1 but 2 screens. There is 1.5” LCD display on the front of your camera as well a screen on the back so you can take self-portraits. Casio’s Z335 shoots in High Definition and for the ladies out there, it has a make-up mode, which automatically eliminates blemishes and highlights the face. No bad for £99.99 The Panasonic Lumix DMC-G2 Micro Four Thirds Camera + 14-42mm Zoom Lens SCS also caught my eye. The successor to revolutionary G1, the camera adds an intuitive touch-screen, which allows the photographer to both focus and release the shutter by touching the on-screen subject.

There were some standout audio products on show for music lovers. The Amethyst Superpig iPod Docking Station is a statement piece with a bling look. It has a 4” subwoofer with 25 watts of crystal output so it packs a punch in a small package. For headphones, Monster Cable Lady Gaga Heartbeats Headphones are high-end performance headphones inspired by Lady Gaga’s unique and ultra-fashionable sense that will definitely turn heads. Monster Beats Active Noise-cancelling Headphones by Dr Dre are also available, which hold a noise-cancelling feature to eliminate outside noise and noise from your headphones so no one will hear your music. The sound is of premium grade, enabling you to hear all the bass and detail just as the artist intended. If you like the sound of anything, why not buy yourself a very early present?

Pioneer have plans on your living room: New range of iPod docks, AV receivers and Blu Ray players

Latest Gadgets went down to a Pioneer product launch and were dazzled by an array of AV receivers, speakers, Blu Ray players, iPod Docks and earphones. Here are just some of the things we saw.

Pioneer-Product-Launch

AV Receivers are no-one’s idea of sexy but the entry to mid-level VSX range were feature-filled work horses. HDMI 1.4 support enables them to handle 3D Blu Ray content, they can stream audio over Bluetooth and the free iControlAV iPhone app allows you to control inputs and fiddle with the dynamic range via the accelerometer (more fun than it sounds). They can also connect to internet radio over the home network. Yours to buy from June 2010 except for the premium glossy black VSX-1025 which will be available in July.

Plugged into the AV Receivers were the BDP LX53 and BDP-330 Blu Ray players, which have built in Ethernet and optional wireless dongles. Both support support 36-bit Deep Colour, can upscale DVDs and connect to youtube. And of course they work with the iControlAC iPhone app as well.

Pioneer also had three iPod docks on display – the XW NAC3 and XW-NAC1 and the XW NAV1. The creatively named XW NAC3 and XW-NAC1 both come equipped with docking stations for two iPods or iPhones at once. Silly at first glance, the “SHUFFLE” function means music can be played back from both of the docked iPods or iPhones at random. Powerful mathematics is at work allowing for a DJ-like effect transitioning from one track to the next relatively seamlessly. It’s not quite DJ Shadow-in-a-box but it’s fine for background music and perfect for Bring-Your-Own-iPod style parties.

The top of the line XW-NAC3 model offers internet connectivity via a LAN interface and is DLNA certified. The words DLNA are normally enough to have me reaching for my wallet, as DLNA devices are awesome. The XW-NAC3 is no exception. When hooked up to the net, you can access internet radio or play back music from DLNA compliant home servers – theoretically you can playback all the music in your house. There is a USB port for connecting mass storage devices to playback a variety of formats (MP3, WMA, AAC, WAV or even FLAC). files stored on it. There is even a clock.

The XW-NAV1 goes far beyond an iPod dock as is more of a digital media player. It has an iPod dock (obviously) but also features an FM tuner, CD/DVD player and can connect to a TV via HDMI for a high quality, upscaled Audio/Visual experience. The composite video out allows you to watch video stored or streamed via the iPod on a TV and a USB port plays back most media files. A neat CD-to USB ripping function lets you copy CDs onto USB without getting a PC involved.

The XW-NAC3 and XW-NAC1 iPod speaker systems will be available as from June 2010, followed by the XW-NAV1 in July.