Packard Bell Maestro 230 LED HD –Top-notch digital viewing from a different angle

Traditionally, asymmetrical entities are not synonymous with beauty, with symmetrically-formed objects being considered more ‘pleasing to the eye’. Although modern technology is so intensely competitive; it is grappling with ways to stand out from its competitors. Packard Bell’s latest venture achieves this desire to be salient and striking in two ways – one, with its asymmetric and striking design, and two, with its emphasis on being environmentally-friendly.

Maestro-Asymmetric

The 230 LED HD boasts an ultra-thin design, stood upon an asymmetrical stand. This unique combination of being exceptionally slender and uneven in symmetry inventively creates an ultra-stylish piece of technology, which asides from the eye-catching effects its cutting-edge design invokes, means this graceful monitor can be easily adjusted and digital viewing can be watched and enjoyed from any angle.

This premium viewing experience is furthered with a 1920×1080 resolution, a 12,000,000:1 contrast ratio and a rapid 5 ms response time – the perfect resolution for an exceptionally high-quality picture.

Connect the Packard Bell Maestro 230 LED HD effortlessly to home entertainment devices via a DVI or VGA port with HDCP protection and an all-digital HDMI interface, which delivers only the finest quality of high-definition viewing and uncompressed video when connected to a DVD player or gaming console.

Asides it’s uniquely stylish design and top-quality HD viewing, another arena where the Maestro 230 LED HD stands out, is its accent on being environmentally-friendly. With today’s ‘alleged’ commitment to finding ‘greener’ alternatives to impede the damage inflicted on the planet, future technology must adapt to more ecologically aware alternatives. Not only is this sophisticated HD LED monitor Energy Star 5.0 compliant and, thanks to white LED technology, provides up to 68% power savings, but it contains no hazardous substances such a halogen gases and mercury. Packard Bell’s commitment to producing an eco-friendly product is expanded by the fact the monitors come packed in highly recyclable materials, correctly labelled with composition codes and recycling symbols.

This ‘wiser’ choice of monitor, which will quickly turn into an indispensable, great looking feature in a modern living room, will be available to purchase in May in UK outlets.

Packard Bell’s aesthetically pleasing ixtreme

There aren’t many interesting desktop PCs in the world. Desktops are lumbering beasts in a world where small is cool. So how do you make a desktop system compete for awesome-points against smartphones and laptop? Packard Bell things it has the answer: the ixtreme.

Packard-Bell-desktop

Clearly educated by Apple’s marketing department, the ixtreme has copied two very iPad-esque features: putting an “i” at the start of the name, and coating everything in glossy black. Luckily for Packard Bell, it works.

The ixetreme is an attractive system, with an eye-catching glowing white internet light that illuminates the PB logo (sorry, that’s two more Apple design ideas: check out the Macbook line for glowing white lights and illuminated logos).

Copied aesthetics aside, there are some quite interesting – and unique – features for a desktop system. The “digital photo frame” button delivers a slide show of your preferred photos with a single touch, while an auto-backup button (conveniently located on top of the chassis) helps you to keep any precious files safe. It’s a great idea – two slightly fiddly computer functions simplified into a single button press.

The top-mounted “Device Deck” is another simplification method. It’s a small recessed area on top of the chassis, designed to hold a camera, MP3 player or camcorder while it’s connected to the USB port. Any cables can be hidden under a lid on the rear of the machine as a neat storage option.

It’s also extremely powerful. You’ll find either an Intel Core 2 processor inside, or one of the latest AMD offerings. Then there’s either 3D (as in, jumps-out of-screen) from a NVIDIA GeForce GT400 series graphics card, or the new generation AMD Radeon HD 6000.

Upgrade options include a Blu-ray drive, two USB3.0 ports and up to three hard drives, with a total storage capacity of up to 6TB.

The Packard Bell ixtreme will be available from February 2011, with a base price of around £699.

Packard Bell’s HD LED TV: “Actually I preferred to be called Maestro”

Packard Bell, the highly regarded Taiwanese electronics company, have launched their stylish Maestro TV. This HD LED-backlit set is likely to become a focal point of lounges throughout the UK.

Owners of old-style box televisions may be interested to hear that the Maestro measures just 19mm in width. Movie lovers can experience all of their favourite flicks on the 16:9 widescreen and sports fans will enjoy seeing tackles and slams in glorious HD.

Packard-Bell-Maestro

The dynamic contrast peaks at an impressive 12,000,000:1 and the digital HDMI™ connectivity allows the Maestro to become an integrated part of any hi tech entertainment system.

Packard Bell were keen to ensure that the TV was user friendly, which is why they kitted it out with 2 HDMI connectors and 1 USB connector. You will also discover a coixal connector for digital sound, SCART, VGA, PC and Audio-in and component connectors at the back of the Maestro.

This television has extremely advanced screen technology, combined with a 5mms response time, ideal for all of your gaming needs. It may be a struggle to keep children away from this exciting gadget.

You may not believe the sound quality produced by the 2X5 watt built in speakers, which allow for a fully immersive music experience.

Those people who want to show off their wedding and holiday piccies will be interested to hear that the Maestro can be connected to cameras and DVD players. If you’ve decided to hit the town for an all night party then you can record your favorite programmes using a 32GB USB key.

Those individuals who take their environmental responsibilities seriously may be interested to hear that the mercury-free LED panel uses 68% less energy than old CCFL panels. The Maestro is also fully compliant with Energy 5.0 saving standards.

This impressive new TV is currently on sale at the relatively inexpensive price of £250.

Push the button – Packard Bell’s social networking M-series laptops

Every now and then someone advertises a use of social networking that makes you cringe. Usually, it’s politicians trying to “reach the youth”. And usually, you’d expect better from technology firms. Enter Packard Bell, with its new Packard Bell Social Networks key.
The Packard Bell Social Networks key is an extra button beside the keyboard on the company’s EasyNote TM notebooks that, when pressed, opens the Packard Bell Social Networks application. The application is basically a sidebar on the right hand-side of the screen, with Facebook, YouTube and Flickr integration. It lets you post comments, play games, update your profiles, and view and share photos and videos, all without opening a browser.

Packard-Bell-M-Series

Arguably, this is both an over-engineered solution, and a bit of gimmickry from Packard Bell. A sceptic might think that they wanted to use the internet’s current buzzwords, “social networking”, as much as possible to help the product “reach the youth”, through the use of a dedicated button.

There is also a huge question as to why there is such limited social media support, and whether it will be updated or not. Surely Twitter should get a mention (it can’t be that hard to include), and then there is Last.Fm, Google Buzz, Myspace, and, well, there is a world of other social medium that people frequent on a regular basis.

There are also the limitations of such software – almost no dedication application runs the website as well as a normal browser does. Smartphones are constantly compromising the functionality of the original websites, and almost no user would ever substitute the full browser experience for a cut-down version. Surely, if you have a notebook with a browser and WiFi connection then you wouldn’t limit yourself to a sidebar.

And looking at the notebook Packard Bell are putting this button on (the EasyNote TM), it seems to beg for a full web experience. A 15.6” widescreen monitor, Intel Core i3 processor, upto 8GB RAM and ATI or NVIDIA graphics cards are specifications that ensure that this device would browse normal social networks perfectly.
Anyway, to explore this button for yourself, pick up the laptop for £549 in May from all major UK computer stores.

Packard Bell launches the iPower X3.0 gaming rig

With the current trend for scaled back, “just for browsing” netbooks and nettops on the market it’s almost alien to see high spec PCs these days. But, whilst the average consumer is looking for less from their PC, the ever-expanding gaming market is still hungry for more, demanding increasingly powerful rigs to run the latest titles.

It’s this market that Packard Bell is looking to reach with their latest desktop offering. The iPower X3.0 has impressive specs with the choice of a Core i5 or i7 processor, up to a mammoth 3TB of storage space and either AMD DirectX 11 or Nvidia DirectX 10 graphics cards. There’s also embedded high-definition audio with multi-channel surround sound which delivers true-to-life sound effects to add to the gaming experience.

iPower-Packard-Bell

But it’s not all about performance and whilst the specs are impressive Packard Bell also scores highly in the looks stakes. The new system turns heads with it’s street-racer inspired design with black coasting, suave red lighting and graphitti-like logo. Functionality is also at the forefront. The Packard Bell iPower X3.0 is equipped with front-mounted buttons and ports to easily access and use key features. All the most important I/O ports and key function buttons are even slanted toward you like a race car control panel for maximum usability. Add the top storage tray providing 2 additional USB ports plus ample space for cameras, smart phones, mp3 players, etc. and all connections to peripheral devices are extremely fast and easy to access. Packard Bell have even made it easy to adapt the machine and thanks to tool-less expansion bays it’s easy to move and swap hard drives.

It’s a lovely looking machine and whilst it may not be every hardcore gamer’s cup of tea, at just £899.99 it’s certainly amongst the more affordable gaming rigs on the market.

Packard Bell Studio ST – media hard drive

Packard Bell has been hard at work trying to keep pace with the storage solution rat race, and the result is the Packard Bell Studio ST, a HD ready media hard drive.

Studio-ST

At a glance, it’s a black box, finished in high gloss, but there are questions marks regarding the its capabilities – we are unable to confirm which file formats it supports and the press release state it plays “most common file formats” which is a bit shady, but with a HDMI connector, Dolby Digital decoding and 1080p support, we are just crossing our fingers that it can play the Holy Grail MKV file format.

The ST will work in conjunction with Packard Bell’s software suite for automatic, scheduled continuous backup, data synchronisation and system archiving. In the box you can expect to see all-digital cables including composite A/V, YPbPr, HDMI and USB 2,0. It also comes with a remote control and has a USB port for sharing or playing files stored on other USB devices.

They’re touting eco-friendly features too, featuring power saving technology, which reduces power consumption by 60% when the drive is inactive. It also has been designed for fan-less silent operation, which is more than welcomed. Storage wise the ST starts at 500GB, going up to 2TB, which more than enough space for all your media. But the lack of DNLA and DIVX does seem a major oversight and most of its competitors are already implementing network streaming through these devices.

So if your looking for a simple easy to use storage device the Packard Bell might well by the device for you. But with some major features missing you might want to look at alternatives like the Iomega ScreenPlay Director HD media player or the Western Digital WD TV. They share many of the same features and can play all your favourite codec’s as well access to Youtube and Flickr. And with DLNA certification you can stream content from your computer over Wi-Fi straight to the box – so there’s no need to transfer files.