Although they're not widely known by the general public, solid state drives are slowly but surely stealing market share from traditional hard disk drives. It's time to put the two rival technologies head to head to see what stands between them.
Despite being largely unknown to the general public just a few years ago, the cost of SSD drives is falling fast and they are beginning to find favour with consumers. More and more people are now willing to consider them as a replacement for the traditional hard disk drives that have been around for decades.
It's reached a stage where it's now worth considering both technologies before choosing a drive, whether you're building a new computer or replacing an existing drive.
That's why we've decided to take a leading light from each side of the divide: the Western Digital Velociraptor 300 GB is flying the flag for hard drives, while the OCZ Agility 120 GB is representing SSDs
> Technology Duel: Hard Disks vs Solid State Drives
The HD 228 have been a much-hyped pair of headphones, with star DJ David Guetta spotted sporting his very own pair. But are they really good enough to please wannabe DJs?
In fact, once we cut though the hype, we found the HD228 headphones were full of surprises ... and not just good ones!
> Headphones Test: Sennheiser HD228
Our laptop and netbook product surveys gain 2 new Samsung models today. The new "Premium" version of the N510, the ION netbook, and the Samsung R580, an originally designed allrounder laptop.
The Samsung N510 Premium is now on Windows 7 and has an improved configuration. The original N510's matte screen has however been replaced with a glossy one - an important distinction.
With its red and black design, the Samsung R580 has quite a look about it. Capable of handling tasks across the board at an affordable price, it certainly has some cards to play.
> Laptop/netbook test: Samsung R580 and Samsung N510 Premium
The headphones with microphones product survey continues to fill up and welcomes two new sets to its ranks today.
Razer and SteelSeries are both well-known for their gaming equipment. However todays two sets of headphones are radically different. Which is the most successful?
> Headphones with mics test : Razer Megalodon & SteelSeries Siberia v2
Some of you may already be familiar with Sony Ericsson's original Xperia X10 smartphone and its huge 4-inch screen. Although the X10 hasn't been out long, the manufacturer is now releasing two new compact versions, the X10 Mini and the X10 Mini Pro, also running on Android 1.6 (Donut).
Could Sony Ericsson be making a stand against the never-ending battle for the biggest smartphone screen? Who knows, but at least it's providing an alternative, even if the pocket format and 2.55-inch screen could make marketing the 'connected user experience' and touch-screen controls a little more complicated.
In spite of their watered-down processors, smaller batteries and compact dimensions, the X10 Mini and X10 Mini Pro still look like pretty good phones. But will these new mini mobiles have what it takes to prove a major success?
> Mobile Tests: Sony Ericsson Xperia X10 Mini and X10 Mini Pro
3 SSDs join our product survey: Integral SSD 2.5 SATA II and USB 64 GB, Kingston SSDnow V-series 64 GB, and OCZ Agility 120GB.
> SSD test: Integral, Kingston and OCZ
Making calls on your printer? Seems like an odd idea, doesn't it? But it's not that crazy, especially if you need to save space.
As well as the phone and an answering machine, you get a large 4.2'' colour screen, wired and wireless connectivity, a document loader and four separate cartridges: black, cyan, magenta and yellow.
Such a wide range of options makes the MFC-795CW a pretty high-end offering. To give you a summary of what it can do, it prints, copies and scans but also faxes in colour, makes calls and takes your voice messages. And it doesn't even take up that much space!
> Printer Test: Brother MFC-795CW
Launched at the same time as the GeForce GTX 480, the 470 hasn't been as widely available. We did however manage to get hold of a test card and are able to bring you our thoughts.
A smaller version of the GTX 480, the GeForce GTX 470 has the same benefits, at least on paper: DirectX 11 compatibility, PhysX support and 3D Vision. Not as fast as the 480, has it also been able to cut down on noise and heat? Answers in our test!
Don't forget that all our test results (9 games, power consumption, heat and noise) are available in the graphics card face-off. You can for example compare the GeForce GTX 470 with the Radeon HD 5870. We also give a summary of overall performance of all cards tested in our performance index tables.
> Graphics card test: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 470, worth a look?
This week we're taking a closer look at touch-screen compacts, with three different models to put through their paces. There's something for everyone too, as the Nikon S4000 is an entry-level camera, the Samsung ST5000 is a high-end compact and Fuji's Z700EXR has a unique kind of sensor.
> Camera Tests: Three Very Different Touch-Sensitive Compacts
After our look at one of Sony's entry-level televisions, the KDL-40EX503, it's time for the NX803, which uses LED backlighting instead of fluorescent tubes, to pay a visit to our lab. It's much further up the manufacturer's range and comes in both 40'' and 52'' versions. There's not much it doesn't have ...
It has Motionflow 200 Hz to improve the fluidity of moving images, a Bravia Engine 3 chip, a multimedia player and a sensor to help it adjust its brightness according to ambient light levels.
It also has a WiFi card to access Bravia Internet Video services like YouTube and Facebook online, as well as playing video stored on a computer elsewhere on your DLNA network.
Can it match the excellent EX503 and its top score of five stars?
> Sony Bravia Network TV Test: 40NX803
Should you buy an Iiyama ProLite B2712HDS or an Acer GD245HQ? They're both excellent monitors and they both received five stars when we tested them. To help you pick between our two challengers, we've decided to put them head to head.
On one side is Iiyama's offering, all 27 inches of it, with a 2 ms 2N panel. Its strengths include responsiveness, accurate colours that don't need calibrating and great hardware. It's a direct descendent of the famous B2403WS which stood unchallenged as our favourite monitor over 24'' for a long time.
Opposite it is the smaller Acer GD245HQ, measuring only 24'' but with a refresh rate of 120 Hz. It's currently the best 3D compatible monitor we've looked at to date. Indeed, it's been such a big date that lots of the stores we've spoken to have found it difficult to get hold of over the past month.
> Monitor Duel: Acer GD245HQ vs Iiyama ProLite B2712HDS
Our first set of tests of bagless vacuum cleaners is finally finished, and we're ready to answer a question that's shared by a lot of people: is a Dyson really the best product for the job?
Remember that the humble hoover is often a lot more technical than people give it credit for. We've looked at their electricity consumption, which can vary from 1400 to 2000 Watts from one model to the next, as well as suction power, noise levels and their ability to work on different surfaces and how that changes over time. We also checked the filters when they were done and how the accessories look like they'd last over time.
So, without further ado, here are our first six vacuum cleaner tests: the Dyson DC19 Allergy and DC19 T2; the Samsung SC86H0 and SC86G0 and the Rowenta RO8021 and RO8049.
We're already working on the next lot and we'll bring news of them soon ...
> New Product Survey: Are Dyson's Bagless Vacuum Cleaners Still On Top?