Saturday, January 12, 2008

Magellan Maestro 4250

Magellan Maestro 4250:
The number of portable navigation systems coming out these days is pretty astonishing, but the thing is, we're finding that when it comes to the core navigation functions, they pretty much all offer the same thing--text- and voice-guided directions, extensive POI databases, automatic route recalculation, and so forth. So in order to differentiate itself from the competition, GPS manufacturers are adding more distinct and advanced features, and in the case of the Magellan Maestro 4250, this comes in the form of voice commands. With this function, you can operate the in-car GPS device with the sound of your voice. For the most part, it worked well during our test period, and we think it's a great safety feature. However, the functionality is a bit limited at this time, (e.g., you can't enter addresses via voice) and you have to create a pretty quiet environment in your car for optimal results. Voice commands aside, the Maestro 4250 is a solid mid-level portable navigation system that also offers text-to-speech functionality, integrated Bluetooth, and accurate directions.

The good:

The Magellan Maestro 4250 allows you to operate the portable navigation system with voice commands. It also features text-to-speech functionality, integrated Bluetooth, and traffic capabilities. The system provided accurate directions.

The bad:

The Maestro 4250's points-of-interest database is a bit outdated, and we encountered some general performance delays and glitches. Voice control does not include address entry. The system does not automatically synchronize your cell phone's address book to the device, and call volume is a bit low.

As we stated earlier in the Design section, we experienced some performance glitches and delays with the Magellan Maestro 4250. There was some lag between triggering a task to the time it was actually executed. The first couple of times this happened, we thought the touch screen simply didn't recognize our tap so we pressed the icons again. This ultimately led to the system freezing, so we had to power on/off, and it got pretty frustrating.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Bugatti Veyron 16.4

The Bugatti Veyron 16.4 is the world’s fastest and most powerful exotic car: over 1,000 bhp and with a top speed of 248 mph !!

If you love sheer power, you’ll adore the Bugatti Veyron 16.4! It has a W-16 8.0 liter cylinder engine mid-mounted driving through a seven-speed semi-automatic gearbox to all four wheels – four-wheel drive is essential with this amount of power. It will still have about 250 bhp going through each tire!

The most powerful car you could possibly want?

Clearly, at the beginning of the project, Piech decided he didn’t want anyone moving the goalposts and putting his exotic supercar in the shade. So he sanctioned the production of a W-16 version of the W-12 used by Audi and bentely, producing an 8.0 liter engine. The reasoning was that with such a big engine no one else would be able to compete. Almost all exotic supercars manage with 6 liters, no more.

The amazing W-16 engine:

But what is a W-16 engine? Well, it is best to think first of a very narrow angle V-8, with just 15 degrees between banks of cylinders. Because the angle between the cylinders is so small, the top face of the whole V-8 cylinder block can be flat, although the pistons are each at 7.5 degrees to the vertical.To make a W-16, you combine two of these V-8 blocks into one, at 90 degrees to each other. So, the cylinder block looks like a wide V-8, but actually has 16 cylinders. The result is a very compact engine, smaller than V-12s of the same capacity, and not a great deal longer than a V-8 of 7 liters. But it’s not that simple. Because there are pairs of cylinders close to each other in each bank, the banks are very wide. With all that power being produced, there is a lot of heat to be got away from these very short but wide cylinder blocks. No problem with the W-12 at 550 bhp, but when you get to a W-16 producing 1,000 bhp stuffed into a short car that creates cooling problems on a massive scale. The engine may be very short, but the cooling is a problem.Also, because the cylinders are not at right angles to the cylinder block face, there is a little space left above the piston when the fuel is ignited, which is not ideal for combustion.

Special 7-speed version of DSG gearbox:

VW has developed a special version of its DSG semi-automatic gearbox for the Veuron 16.4. This is a massive box built specially for the engine, but using the DSG system from audi and VW models. Also, it has seven speeds, which makes a manual option impractical. Like the smaller DSG boxes, the system relies on the use of twin hydraulic clutches. The powertrain is installed in a carbon fiber structure of great strength, and to save weight, the panels are carbon fiber or aluminum. Suspension is fairly standard for an exotic supercar, with double wishbones and coil springs. There is the usual ABS and stability control, but this is a progressive system designed to allow the driver to explore the limits safely. It also controls the rear limited slip differential.

Simple interior:

Inside the car you get a simple layout with a small instrument panel in front of the three-spoke Bugatti wheel. The center console is covered with a milled aluminum panel and contains the minor instruments in a retro pattern. The stubby gear lever sticks out from the tunnel – buttons to select the various modes and reverse would seem more suitable. The interior looks good in tan, but I wasn’t so struck by the white. Rear vision looks as if it’s almost non-existent.

You’ll need about $1.3 million to buy one of these Bugattis without import duty, sales tax or whatever. Sure will be exclusive!!!

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Insignia Pilot with Bluetooth

Compared with many other flash MP3 players, the Insignia Pilot is not the most compact device: it measures 4 inches by 1.9 inches by 0.4 inch, so it's not huge but a bit on the long side. It's also not overtly stylish, but with its black body wrapped in a brushed silver trim, the player isn't an eyesore, either. The face of the Pilot features an ample 2.4-inch color LCD screen on the left and a control pad on the right. The latter consists of a menu button and mechanical scroll ring with four-way clicking capability surrounding a Play/Pause key. A Power/Hold switch and the rather unique star-rating toggle line the top edge of the player, and the ports--headphone, line-in/secondary headphone, and standard mini USB--reside along the right spine. Best Buy has also built-in SD card expansion slot into the bottom of the player, which is handy for users who don't want to be limited to 8GB of memory.

The Insignia Pilot knows what it's doing as far as ease of use is concerned--the main menu is icon-driven and music is organized into the typical Creative step-down structure (artist, album, genre, playlist, and so on)--but the interface isn't particularly exciting. You can change the wallpaper color, but that's about it: no themes and no setting your own images as a background. The playback screen displays album art, at least, along with a plethora of information on the currently playing and upcoming songs. And you have the option to switch between screens to view larger album art or, in some cases, a short artist blurb. Another nice--if unusual--touch is the star toggle on the top edge of the player. Flick it in to the left to take away stars, to the right to add stars, or push it straight down to access a contextual menu for changing playback settings or for placing bookmarks.

Doubtless, a big draw of the Insignia Pilot is the breadth of the player's features--it's almost insane. The device supports JPEG photos, MPEG-4 and WMV videos, and an outstanding number of audio formats: MP3, WMA, WMA Lossless, WMA DRM, WMA Pro, OGG, WAV, and Audible. There's even Rhapsody DNA integration, so you can transfer Channels (basically, Internet radio) to the player for on-the-go access. And if you get sick of digital, you can switch over to the FM radio, which offers autoscan and up to 20 presets. There's also recording for voice and FM (both in WAV) along with line-in (saved as WMA). Last but certainly not least, is the Pilot's built-in stereo Bluetooth functionality, which allows it to stream audio to Bluetooth headphones--definitely a nice touch for wire haters....

UTStarcom XV6800 (Verizon Wireless)

The good:

The Verizon Wireless XV6800 smartphone brings upgrades such as Windows Mobile 6, a 2-megapixel camera, and a sleeker design than its predecessor. You also get Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and EV-DO.

The bad:

The XV6800's speaker is on the softer side, and call quality could be better. The smartphone doesn't support Verizon's streaming media services, and there are some slight performance delays.

The bottom line:

The Verizon Wireless XV6800 comes with most everything a power business user will need from a smartphone, but its less-than-stellar call quality gives the Samsung SCH-i760 the slight edge.


The Verizon Wireless XV6800 is reminiscent of the Sprint Mogul in shape and size, which makes sense, since both devices are made by HTC. The XV6800 measures 4.3 inches high by 2.3 inches wide by 0.7 inch deep and weighs 5.8 ounces. Although it's on the larger side and you'll probably want to get a belt holster since it'll make for a tight fit in the pants pocket, it sits nicely in the palm and is comfortable to use as a messaging device. We will say that the phone's construction didn't feel as solid as the i760. The XV6800 has the same battery cover as the Sprint Mogul, which we found quite plasticky and flimsy. As far as aesthetics, the XV6800 isn't the most attractive smartphone on the block but has an appropriately business look.


The one area where the Verizon Wireless XV6800 ups the Samsung i760 is the camera. The XV6800 is equipped with a 2-megapixel lens (versus 1.3 megapixels) with flash, autofocus, and video-recording capabilities. For still images, you have your choice of five resolutions and four quality settings. You can adjust the white balance and add various effects, and there's also a self-timer and the option of adding a time stamp to your photo. As usual, your options are a bit more limited in video mode but you do get white balance settings, effects, and two resolution choices. Picture quality was mixed. We were impressed by the sharp definition, but the colors were a bit off and looked harsh. Video quality was OK for a camera phone--slightly pixilated by fine for short spurts.


The XV6800's 920mAh lithium-ion battery is rated for 5.4 hours of talk time and up to 14 days of standby time. We are still conducting our battery drain tests but will update this section as soon as we have final results. According to FCC radiation tests, the XV6800 has a digital SAR rating of 1.3 watts per kilogram.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

DLO HomeDock Deluxe

Custom Screens:

DLO’s all-in-one dock connects an iPod to your home TV and stereo.
The HomeDock can be used with a variety of iPOds including the Nano, Mini and iPod Color and iPod VideoLord knows there are a pile of iPod accessories out there, and to be honest, most of them aren’t worth the pixels to write about, let alone purchase. Thankfully, the new HomeDock Deluxe from DLO is not among them. Attach this little gem to your home theater (S-video and RCA cables provided) and you will be greeted by a stylish on-screen menu offering a variety of options: watch iTunes videos, listen to music with album art, custom vizualizers, on-the-fly playlists, colored themes and more. The charging dock (yes, it charges your iPod too) is a classy sliver and black that will fit nicely into most home theater decors. The dock also holds the 18-button remote when not in use.
Obviously, iPods are meant to be mobile, but this new offering fills the gap when they aren’t. Shipping in March, cost $150.
Its picture and sound quality is realy very good!

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Citroen C Metisse Diesel Hybrid Sports Car: A New Beginning Beckons

Paris Motor Show is the place to be for all car fanatics. Starting 30th September, this show is all set to rock with numerous stunning cars and Citroen C-Metisse Diesel Hybrid Sports car is another one causing astir.

This Diesel /Hybrid from Citroen is powered by a 205 hp diesel V6 engine on the front wheels , two electric motors on the rear wheels and does 0 to 60mph in 6.2 seconds .

Being a concept car there is no surety that we will see this car burning the roads but this concept could soon be seen assuming more realistic proportions for Peugeot 307 and Citroen C4.

Technical characteristics:
Length:4,740 mm
Width: 2,000 mm
Height: 1,240 mm
Wheelbase: 3,000 mm
Gross vehicle weight (GVW): 1,400 kg (batteries included)
• Performance and fuel consumption
0 to 400 m: 14.2 seconds
0 to 1,000 m: 25.4 seconds
0 - 100 kph: 6.2 seconds
30 - 60 kph: 1.9 seconds
80 - 120 kph: 4.2 secondsTop speed: 250 kphCombined consumption: 6.5 l/100 km
CO2 emissions: 174 g/km
• Diesel hybrid drivetrain
V6 HDi diesel engine developing 150 kW (208 bhp) with a DPFS and 6-speed automatic transmissionTwo electric motors in the rear wheels:
- each with torque of 400 Nm
- and developing 15 kW (20 bhp)ZEV mode (range of 3 km at 30 kph)
• Aerodynamic features
Flat undersideEnlarged air intakes at the frontTwo retractable rear airfoilsRear fixed-fin spoilerCd: 0.30CdA: 0.6 m²Cl: – 0.1
• Running gear Hydraulic suspensionDouble wishbone suspension on all four wheelsSpecial Michelin tyres: 255/40/R20
• Main equipmentFixed
-centred controls steering wheel
6-speed gearbox, manual mode controlled by steering-wheel paddles, or fully automatic mode controlled by a selection lever on the central column
Directional headlamps
Electrically adjustable steering wheel and pedal assemblyAluminium wheels with a central nut.

VAIO® UX Series Micro PC

Weight: 1.2 lbs with standard battery (weight is approximate and may vary)Dimensions: 5.91”(W) x 3.74”(H) x 1.27-1.50”(D)The VAIO® UX Micro PC puts the world in your pocket and at your fingertips.
The ultra-portable full-functioning PC with a 4.5” wide SVGA screen11, Intel® Core™ Solo ULV CPU .
Microsoft® XP Professional operating system, as well as integrated wireless LAN3, wireless WAN13, Bluetooth® technology5, and communications-focused12 hardware built right in, designed for productivity on the go.

1. GHz denotes microprocessor internal clock speed; other factors may affect application performance. CPU speed will be reduced under certain operating conditions.

2. GB means one billion bytes when referring to hard drive capacity. Accessible capacity may vary. A portion of hard disk space is reserved as a recovery partition.

3. Requires compatible wireless LAN access point, sold separately. Internet connection may require fees.

4. DVD Media/Formats are not universally compatible.

5. Interoperability among Bluetooth® devices varies.

6. i.LINK is a trademark of Sony used only to designate that a product contains an IEEE 1394 connector. All products with an i.LINK connector may not communicate with each other.

7. Actual battery life may vary based on product settings, usage patterns and environmental conditions.

8. See actual limited warranty for details. For a copy of Sony’s warranty, please visit, call toll-free 888-476-6972 (888-4SONYPC), or write to Sony Electronics, 12451 Gateway Boulevard, Fort Myers, FL 33913.

9. For certain third party software applications, Sony provides first level Phone Support. Additional telephone support may be available from the applicable 3rd party vendor. Availability and schedule for any such support is determined by the applicable software vendor.

10. The Microsoft Office 2003 60-Day Trial software is intended for evaluation purposes only. This trial software is installed on your system and you must activate the software before you can use it. Product activation procedures will be detailed during initial launch of the software; activation requires Internet access. This software has an expiration date of 60 days from date of first use, at which time the software will operate under reduced-functionality mode, limiting end-use options and operations.

11. Viewable area measured diagonally.

12. Broadband Internet service required along with third-party services which may require a subscription fee or other service fee.

13. Subscription with Cingular Wireless required. See for complete offer details, price plans, service terms and conditions and coverage map.

14. Requires optional optical drive for upgrade to Windows Vista™.