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MULTIMEDIA

Custom Kit : Media streamer, Griffin beacon, Samsung – navibot VCR8895, startech unidock3ugb

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7/7/2012 11:45:06 AM

We check you the latest gadgets, gizmos and geek toys.

Media streamer

Description: Media streamer

The dinky Roku 2 XS promises to turn any TV into a smart TV with Internet media streaming. Net connection is handled via either Ethernet or 802.11n WiFi, and you can output through via either Ethernet or 802.11n WiFi, and you can output through composite or HDMI connections. The Net channels on offer are a little US-biased, but you can get free access to iPlayer, Crackle films and a host of news channels. Various paid-for channels, such as Netfix, are also available.

However, the major problem is that you can’t stream media from other network devices, such as your PC, out of the box. Instead you’ll need to install a media server, such as Plex, which is a hassle that mars an otherwise neat package.

Price

$150 inc VAT

Supplier

www.scan.co.uk

Manufacturer

www.roku.com

USB drive Kingston 64GB DataTraveler HyperX USB 3

 

Description: USB drive Kingston 64GB DataTraveler HyperX USB 3

Sometimes there just isn’t a substitute for a whopping great big USB stick – whether it’s moving a hoard of media files to a different PC, or simply backing up your Steam library in preparation for a Windows reinstall, more storage is always useful. Admittedly, you can get this much USB storage for less elsewhere, but the Data Traveler Hyper X distinguishes itself as one of the fastest sticks we’ve seen, with read speeds of 106MB/sec and write speeds of 92MB/sec – a handy attribute when you’re moving acres of data. The chunky metal casing and cap also lend the insides some much-needed protection.

Price

$147

Supplier

www.scan.com

Manufacturer

www.kingston.com

Griffin beacon (Android version)

Description: Griffin beacon (Android version)

The Griffin Beacon is a nifty piece of kit that will take a Bluetooth signal from your smartphone or tablet and turn it into an IR signal that your TV, Blu-ray player or hi-fi can understand. Setup is handled via an app called Dijit, which contains 200,000 device profiles – we easily found our LG TV and Blu-ray player. If you can’t find your device then the app’s learning feature makes it easy to set up a custom profile. You can even set up custom macros (such as turning on two devices at once) or change the layout of the buttons in the app to best suit your screen size or usage patterns.

Price

$75

Supplier

www.amazon.co.uk

Manufacturer

www.griffintechnology.com

Samsung – navibot VCR8895

Description: Navibot VCR8895

Maybe it’s all that Tomorrow’s World we matched as kids, but frankly, we expected there to be more robots around by 2012. As it is, your only real recourse if you want a robot assistant at the moment is to buy a robot hoover. The Navibot VCR9985 is such a device, and quite a good one at that. It will dutifully clean a room or two before trundling back to its dock to recharge, and you can set a timer so that it cleans while you’re out. You’ll need an open-plan house to get the best out of it, however, and it isn’t cheap either. Our only other gripe is that it doesn’t look roboty enough.

Price

$750

Supplier

www.comet.co.uk

Manufacturer

www.samsung.com

Charging hub – arctic charging station

Description: Charging hub – arctic charging station

Relying on USB-charged gadgets is fine at home, but keeping them juiced up when you’re travelling can be a pain. You’ll either have to use a laptop (which typically has to be switched on) or pack the plug adaptor, which isn’t even included with some devices. The Charging Station looks to end this hassle by providing four powered USB ports from a single wall plug. The charger also included US, UK and EU plug adaptors, which make it immensely flexible. To test the charger, we attached two phones, an MP3 player and a video camera at the same time – a load that the unit handled without breaking stride. Not everyone will have enough gadgets to make use of it, but it’s great for those that do.

Price

$19.5

Supplier

www.airetech.co.uk

Manufacturer

www.actic.ac

Hard drive dock: startech unidock3ugb

Description: Startech unidock3ugb

Startech unidock3ugb

Most new motherboards no longer have IDE controller, and while this reducers PCB clutter, it can also be a little annoying if you still have some perfectly serviceable IDE disks. Thankfully, StarTech is on hand with the handy dual-bay hard disk dock. It’s compatible with both SATA and IDE drives, and connects to your PC via USB 3. During testing, we saw healthy read and write speeds of 64MB/sec and 54MB/sec respectively. The only stumbling block is the price, as you’ll need to use it on a regular basis to justify spending $75.

Price

$75

Supplier

www.ebuyer.com

Manufacturer

www.startech.com

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