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Best reviews of Q4 2007

Microscope contributor

With the march towards the end of the year well on its way, it is a good time to look back at the fourth quarter to cast an eye over the reviews that have stood out in the last few months.

Next week in Tech Trader we will cast a look back over 2007 as a whole, highlighting the best products and identifying trends based on the kit that has been sent in for review.

 

October

With the lazy days of summer well and truly over, the industry started to gear up with launches that would be targeting the crucial fourth quarter buying period.

One of the pieces of technology that is not going to diminish in sales or importance is the laptop, and Samsung got the attention with its NP-Q70, which got a recommended status as a result of its power and design.

For those wanting to use 3D graphical programmes, particularly Google Earth, the SpaceNavigator mouse was completely different to anything else that has gone before, helping users to zoom as well as move around the screen.

Logitech showed just how far webcam products had evolved with its QuickCam Pro 9000, which offered not just high resolution but technology that would follow the user as they moved around. Those still worried about quality and speed were told by the reviewer to put those concerns out of their minds.

The final products that came to attention in October were cases that showed the old grey chassis was a thing of the past. The two market leaders of Antec and Thermaltake demonstrated just what is expected from a product on the market now. Sleek design that doesn’t just look good but also keeps the system running as quietly as possible is the order of the day. Along with those features there is an expectation that a modern case will form a centrepiece of any multimedia system.

Towards the end of the month MicroScope celebrated its 25th anniversary and looked back over some of the products that had stood out over the last quarter of a century. The same names kept cropping up including Apple, IBM, Microsoft and Hewlett-Packard. Those vendors were responsible for driving the mainstream of development, with a fair amount of activity on the fringes from other vendors.

It examined how the British flied the flag briefly in the mid to late 1980s, with Sinclair showing that home computing was not just a dream and Amstrad demonstrating that you did not have to pay the earth to get it.

 

November

The month started with a device that is blazing a trail in the security world. The Yoggie Pico Pro stick provides a host of security applications that can ensure a laptop or desktop is protected. The product resembles a USB flash drive but is a great deal smarter than a dumb storage device.

The month also included other products that had the potential to make sales for resellers as well as making life a great deal easier for users. The PC Tools Desktop Maestro promised to improve performance after clearing out the clutter.

Sony’s Vaio XVGNSZ61VN took some beating, with one member of the office getting straight on the phone to the vendor to try and beg a longer term loan of the review product before biting the bullet and buying one.

What particularly appealed was the addition of all of the tools you would need to connect remotely and get the most out of mobile comms. So the webcam was included, a wireless ariel and a host of other features that made this a product that would appeal to a wide audience.

 

December

At the beginning of the month, there were product launches galore, aiming to exploit not just the continuing popularity of the iPod but also the iPhone, with Gear4 producing a list of products to appeal to users of both devices.

The console manufacturers were also reporting strong demand, with queues forming for the Nintendo Wii and Microsoft and Sony also benefiting with their Xbox and PlayStation 3 platforms.

Asus was also reporting a problem with fulfilling orders of its Linux-based Eee PC, which was finding a market much wider than the education niche most analysts initially predicted for it. The stripped-down laptop provided all of the functions anyone could want for a fraction of the price of a conventional laptop.

Finally, ZyXEL showed with its NSA-2400 just how straightforward networked attached storage has become with a product that can be simply plugged into a network offering a couple of terabytes’ worth of extra capacity.


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