Wired Gadgetlab

Toshiba Satellite P100-ST9612 Laptop

posted: 03 Aug 2008

On a recent fact-checking mission for Wired, I was called upon to infiltrate the depths of several online 3-D games. Thank goodness I had this baby as my gaming rig. My supercute blonde avatar looked even more buxom on the 17-inch, 1,680 x 1,050-pixel screen, while the 2 gigs of RAM let me simultaneously surf the Web and storm Virtual Laguna Beach-heads. It was also perfect for perusing other media, ranging from DVDs to YouTube clips, while a pair of integrated Harman Kardon speakers handled audio output deftly. Too bad this notebook is way expensive and ungainly (huge 16 x 11-inch footprint). But when I'm fighting in World of Warcraft or just living my Second Life, the Satellite is my wingman of choice. -- Angela Watercutter
[RATING: 8/10] [RETAIL: $2,799] [ ]

Kodak EasyShare C875 Digital Camera

posted: 03 Aug 2008

Every Thursday night is Bingo Night at my local dive bar. The prize for hitting five in a row? Free drink tickets. And a good round can mean endless photo ops for me and my crew. As excited as I was to start capturing the, uh, memories, I was a little disappointed by this camera's bulk. At just over 6 ounces and 1.4 inches thick, there's no squeezing it into a back pocket. But 8-megapixel resolution, combined with a sharp 5X optical zoom, guaranteed that every celebratory shot of Jameson was captured. Reliving the hilarity the morning (or afternoon) after was a snap. I just hooked the cam to my computer via the included USB cable and transferred the images with the push of a button. Next Thursday, I'll probably opt to leave this beefy cam at home, but I'll cherish those intoxicating images forever. -- Jenna Wortham
[RATING: 7/10] [RETAIL: $200] [ ]

Etymotic Research ety8 In-The-Ear Bluetooth Earpho

posted: 03 Aug 2008

I'm on the bus. There's a horrible, fingernails-on-chalkboard screech every time the vehicle comes to a stop. A big guy next to me is hacking up buckets of phlegm. A teenage girl behind me is whining into the pink RAZR plastered to her face. But it's OK. In a few seconds, it will all disappear. I plug the Bluetooth adapter into my iPod, switch on the square wireless earphones, and pop the buds in my auditory canals. Ah, the sweet sounds of solitude -- just me and my personal playlist. When I get up to leave, I usually stumble as the bus lurches, but with this setup, there's no catching a thumb on a wire, no earbuds flying into a stranger's lap. The buds stay put, and I'm on my way. Sure, they look silly, but my long hair hides them well. Anyway, looking a bit goofy is worth a blissful morning commute. -- Aria Pearson
[RATING: 8/10] [RETAIL: $299] [ ]

Samsung LN-S4092D LCD TV

posted: 03 Aug 2008

Challenge me to an FPS and you will get smoked. I repeat: I will smoke you like a Christmas ham. Halo 2, Gears of War, it doesn't matter -- you're toast. How can I talk such blatant trash? I recently acquired untouchable gaming skills not from practice, tenacity, or even (scoff) natural talent. No, my suddenly improved fragging ability stems from the LN-S4092D in my living room. This 40-inch, 720p LCD recently replaced my Podunk 12-inch college-era set, and due to the massive upgrade in clarity, I'm now able to identify and blast opponents a crucial split second faster. The TV has badass beauty on the outside, too; the shiny black finish looks like it could have come from the same Imperial engineers who created Vader's suit. The LCD also plays nongaming content like HD-DVDs and hi-def television flawlessly -- perfect for when my fingers are too blistered to pick up a controller. -- D.D.
[RATING: 8/10] [RETAIL: $1,900] [ ]

VoodooPC Omen Extreme Desktop Gaming PC

posted: 03 Aug 2008

Oh yeah, baby! That's it! Take it off so I can see all your goodies! The see-through case on this souped-up gamer invites voyeuristic geeks to peep inside at the sexy components that underlie its stunning performance: dual ATI graphics cards, physics accelerator, 4 gigs of RAM, supercharged Athlon CPU, and a liquid cooling system that practically eliminates fan noise. Setup was a bit cumbersome, but this rig makes games sing -- it runs Doom 3 with graphics settings maxed out at around 100 frames per second. And when we fed it less processor-intensive fare like Medieval II: Total War and Unreal Tournament 2004, it said, 'That's all?! Are you kidding?!' The only downside is the staggering price, compounded by the fact that you'll want to immediately upgrade to a bigger and better monitor to take advantage of its pixel-pushing power. -- Chris Baker
[RATING: 9/10] [RETAIL: $6,150 (as configured)] [ ]

Samsung BlackJack Smartphone

posted: 03 Aug 2008

IHit me! No, I'm not sitting on an ace-five hand with two Gs in the pot. I'm delirious with glee about my stuffed-to-the-gills BlackJack from Samsung. How could you not love bathing in all the geekified accessories in this package? There's a 1.3-megapixel digicam, Bluetooth, full QWERTY keyboard, instant messenger, Windows Media Player, microSD card slot, high-speed 3G connectivity, and side thumbwheel for easy navigation. Phew! After you sit down, have a glass of water, and get your bearings, you'll notice a few shortcomings: no touchscreen, no Palm OS, a clunky interface, and supershort battery life. Daily charging? Who has time for that? Still, it's a slick next-gen smartphone with more features than you'll probably need, and at least it's not called the BLKJCK. -- Erik Malinowski
[RATING: 8/10] [RETAIL: $300 (with two-year Cingular contract)] [ ]

WIRED Gadget Lab [DEC 26, 2006]

posted: 03 Aug 2008

This is it, the final countdown!

2006 is fast coming to an end, and so is the Gadget Lab. Whoa, whoa, whoa -- put down that RAZR! Don't hurt yourself. The G-Lab crew is taking a break to re-tool, re-work, re-write, and re-format. We're cooking up a new and improved newsletter that'll rock your world. It'll be ready to roll later in aught-seven -- we'll keep you posted on progress.

In the meantime, worry not: The G-Lab crew will be back in a couple of weeks (just in time for that gadget-orgy overload known as CES) in the form of a brand-spankin'-new blog. It will totally rule, trust us. We'll have all the gadget reviews you desire, along with the clever writing you love, plus a few other surprises we'll reveal soon enough. And if you need something to tide you over till then (and maybe help you recover from that wickedly decadent New Year's party), tune in Wednesday, January 3, at 8 pm to check out the premiere of Wired Science, our very own, very new, and very wired TV show. Check here
for more details.

Since we'll be on a brief hiatus till then, we've got a double-barrel blast of reviews to appease your gadget lust. First up is an almost supernatural gaming PC, a smartphone with some superior styling, and a set of wireless earbuds that make riding public transit almost bearable. Next is an LCD TV suitable for a Sith Lord, the ideal online gaming companion, and a camera perfect for taking shots while, uh, taking shots. Starting January 8, we'll be running full-steam ahead on our new URL: Until then, you stay classy, G-Labbers! -- Daniel Dumas