Fab Four: January 2007
January 1, 2007 • Vol.4 Issue 1
Page(s) 24-25 in print issue
As winter’s grip tightens, our desire to relax and have some fun heightens. This month’s Fab Four picks are all about living it up. Among our favorites are a camera you can take on the slopes—or on a tropical getaway—without much fear it’ll be ruined, and the new nano, which brightens things up with some springtime colors and packs in more entertainment per charge than ever before. And the (PRODUCT) RED version gives us the chance to warm our hearts by doing something good.
Why: If you don’t want to worry about whether your gadgets can keep up with your rough-and-tumble life, but you also don’t want to be weighed down by a bulky device, the new Olympus Stylus 730 is for you. Whether you’re into mountain biking or toddler wrangling, the Stylus 730 is built to survive splashes, falls, dust, and snowstorms alike. So whatever hits you—from a toppled Big Gulp to dusty trails—your camera will likely keep on clicking. The Stylus 730’s durable design doesn’t sacrifice a slim form factor. The body is 2.4 x 3.8 x 0.83 inches (HxWxD), and it features a 3-inch LCD, so even in its petite package the Stylus 730 won’t make you squint to see what you’ve framed. This 7.1MP camera packs practical features, including Digital Image Stabilization Mode, which reduces blur and increases crispness; Digital Image Stabilization Edit, which allows for in-camera retouching; and Bright Capture Technology, which helps capture great flash-free photos in low light.
Bottom line: All-weather? Alright.
$149 (2GB), $199 (4GB), $249 (8GB)
Why: The new iPod nano is thinner—if you can imagine—than its previous generation, comes in five colors (options determined by capacity), and boasts a longer battery life (24 hours) and a 40% brighter color display. It comes in three sizes, 2GB, 4GB, and 8GB, which can hold approximately 500, 1,000, and 2,000 songs, respectively. Color choices include silver (2GB, 4GB); green, blue, and pink (4GB); and black (8GB). If you choose the special edition (PRODUCT) RED ($199; 4GB), Apple will donate $10 to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS in Africa (www.theglobalfund.org). (PRODUCT) RED-branded iTunes gift cards are also available at Apple’s Web site. The nano’s new body is made out of aluminum to offer more durability. As with all iPods, the nano only supports iTunes (www.itunes.com). You can rip your own CDs and import them using iTunes, or you can buy audio files from the iTunes store. The nano can store and display image files and play podcasts and audiobooks (from iTunes), as well.
Bottom line: World’s most popular player.
Motorola MOTOKRZR K1m
Why: As sleek as its popular predecessors in the RAZR line, the new MOTOKRZR K1m from Motorola is 0.7 inches thick and 1.7 inches wide. Its dark pearl-gray glass gives it an urban sophisticate look. This multimedia-focused phone features a 1.9-inch color screen, Bluetooth, an MP3 player, and a 1.3MP camera, which provides video capture and playback. The specific array of multimedia services available depends on your carrier. At press time, U.S. carriers were Alltel (www.alltell.com), Sprint (www.sprint.com), and Verizon Wireless (www.verizonwireless.com). Verizon subscribers can use KRZRs to download any of the 1.4 million songs available from Verizon’s V CAST Music service. Alltel users can access Alltel’s Axcess Broadband network, which includes broadcasts of live television. Sprint customers can subscribe to Sprint’s Power Vision for more than 50 channels of live TV and on-demand video, as well as NFL Mobile, which delivers video highlights, real-time stats, and injury reports.
Bottom line: Elegant multimedia performer.
Sony HDR-UX1 AVCHD DVD Handycam Camcorder
Why: If you’ve been looking to upgrade your camcorder, Sony’s HDR-UX1 Handycam may be just the thing. It features a 10X optical zoom and a 4MP still image capture, and it lets you record directly to DVD. You can record to a DVD in SD (standard definition) in MPEG2 or HD in AVCHD (Advanced Video Codec HD). Using DVD+R Dual Layer discs, you can record one hour of HD (1080i) content. Depending on the recording format, you can play back your DVDs in most DVD players, computers, Blu-ray Disc players, and Sony PlayStation 3 video game consoles. It supports Sony’s MemoryStick Duo, so you can transfer still images to your PC for printing or emailing. The high-quality Carl Zeiss lenses are treated with layers of special coating designed to increase contrast and color saturation and decrease glare and flare. The built-in microphone records in 5.1-channel Dolby Digital surround-sound, and the Super NightShot Infrared System lets you shoot video in low light. The HDR-UX1 isn’t Mac-compatible.
Bottom line: Worth splurging on.
by Naomi Graychase