Sporadic Siri outage leaves iPhone 4S users without their virtual assistants

Early adopters, beware: Siri is having its first breakdown as users nationwide are unable to access their favorite iOS app.

The beloved and already meme-worthy iPhone 4S feature, Siri, is experiencing its first glitch. Twitter and the rest of the blogosphere are lighting up with reports that the voice control application is inaccessible, responding to requests by saying “Sorry, I am having trouble connecting to the network.”

Siri works by connecting to Apple’s servers to grab the information you need, and is a core feature of the iPhone 4S. In fact, the minimal refresh was nearly overshadowed by the virtual assistant technology that is integrated into the latest model alone. A Siri-less iPhone 4S is essentially an iPhone 4 with a better camera.

siri down

It’s the first significant hiccup for the Siri technology, but it’s come so soon after its release that users are likely anxious that they shelled out for an upgrade with core technology that has serious connectivity issues. The outages and spotty service began being reported nationwide around 11 a.m. PST this morning.

Apple has said that restarting your Wi-Fi connection and then your phone might do the trick, but hasn’t promised that this isn’t a network failure problem.

We experienced minor connection problems with Siri, asking the service to search the Web. The first time, we were told there were network errors. But other requests, and then a second go at Web searching were successful. That is, until we tried another iPhone 4S and were unable to connect (see screenshot at right).

HTC unveils 4.3-inch Rezound: 1.5GHz dual-core, 1GB RAM

HTC is currently unveiling its new Rezound handset. Check out our live coverage here.
At an event in New York City today, HTC is set to unveil the latest Android handset to its lineup: the Rezound. Based on data leaked just before the announcement, we’re expecting to see a 4.3-inch touchscreen, 1.5GHz dual-core processor, and 1GB of RAM. Whether that’s accurate or not, we’ll know soon enough. See our constantly-updated live coverage below:
KEY FACTS: Rezound will have a 4.3-inch, 720p display; a 1.5GHz dual-core processor; 1GB of RAM; 4G LTE connectivity; and an 8MP/f2.2 camera capable of shooting slow motion. The Rezound will be available through Verizon for $299 with a two-year contract, starting Nov. 14.
Original live text below:
HTC Chief Executive Peter Chou opened the presentation by boasting that his company was recently named a “Top 100 global brand” buy brand consultancy agency Interbrand. Most company’s take 20 years to make it into Interbrand’s Top 100, Chou said, but HTC reached it in just 5 years. HTC, which grew an impressive 163 percent this year, is currently ranked at number 98 on the list.
Coca-Cola is the No. 1 brand in the world, but seven of the top 10 contenders are technology companies. IBM sits in No. 2, followed by Microsoft and Google. Intel ranks in at No. 7, Apple at No. 8 and HP comes in at No. 10, just above Disney.
The Rezound is red and black, and looks similar to a Droid Incredible. The back is translucent, giving users a “peak” at the internals of the device, which, as expected has a 1.5GHz dual-core processor, 1GB of RAM, and 32GB of storage, half of which is internal, the other 16GB are on a microSD card.
The Rezound will come “Ice Cream Sandwich ready,” and HTC promises to update as soon as possible. The device also sports a 720p high-def display — a first for HTC. The Rezound also includes what is “the best camera somebody can own,” an 8MP lens capable of shooting at an f-stop of 2.2 (very fast for a phone camera). The camera can even shoot slow motion.
Sound is a big part of the Rezound (thus, the name). The smartphone comes with a pair of Beats headphones that include volume buttons on the chord. Also, they’ve confirmed that the Rezound runs HTC Sense 3.5 user interface.
Rezound owners will also be able to watch NFL games live, for free. The device will be available on November 14, for $299 (with contract), through Verizon.
Presentation is over — time for some hands on! Check back with us later for our first impressions of the HTC Rezound.

Nikon CoolPix P7000, S8100, and S80 cameras

 Camera maker Nikon has launched a series of new CoolPix cameras, aiming to appeal to everyone from casual photographers to serious “prosumers” with the new CoolPix S80, CoolPix S8100, and CoolPix 7000.

First up, the CoolPix P7000 aims to meld the convenience of a small-bodied camera with the manual power of a DSLR. The camera offers a 10.1 megapixel resolution—which is actually lower than its predecessor, the P6000—but actually packs a large sensor, so the camera can handle low-light shooting down to ISO 6400—and more in a low noise night mode. The P7000 ships with a 7.1× optical zoom lens, features a 3-inch LCD display, and comes with a built-in neutral density filter that can reduce the amount of light that passes through the lens allowing for longer exposures in bright conditions (like sunlight) for more accurate color and processing. The P7000 also offers a zoom memory so users can preset a focal length for zoom shots, improved support for RAW files, HD movie recording (with stereo sound), and storage support for SD/SDHC/SDXC media cards. The camera also sports a number of manual controls sure to appeal to users who have advanced beyond basic point-and-shoot capabilities: it doesn’t have swappable lenses, but it offers a good deal more control than a typical consumer camera. Nikon says the P7000 should be available later this month for a suggested price of $499.99.

Next, the CoolPix S8100 compact point-and-shoot camera features a 10× optical zoom and a 12.1 megapixel resolution—that’s actually another step back from the 14.2 megapixel resolution in the S8000. However, that lower resolution also improves sensitivity: the S8100 incorporates backside CMOS sensor illumination for improved low-light shooting (down to ISO 3200) with very little noise. The S8100 offers lens-shift and vibration-reduction technologies to cut back on motion blur, and also incorporates motion detection technology that adjusts exposure and shutter speed on the fly to reduce blurring. The S8100 can also capture 1080p video with stereo sound and snap still images at the same time—the size of the stills depends on the resolution of the video being captured, while a high-speed burst mode can handle five 12 megapixel shots at 10 frames per second, or up to 54 one megapixel photos at about 120 fps. The S8100 features a 3-inch LCD display, and supports macro photography as close as 1cm from the lens. The CoolPix S8100 should be available later this month for about $299.

Finally, with the CoolPix S80 Nikon incorporates a 3.5-inch OLED touchscreen display, enabling users to control the camera as well as do useful things like…draw on their photos. The S80 offers a very compact body (under 17mm thick) for easy portability, along with a 14.1 megapixel resolution and a 5× optical zoom; users can also record HD movies (720p) and push them and photos to a HDTV using a mini-HDMI connector. The S80 also offers in-camera filters and editing functions, including a “Glamour retouch” that can detect faces in images. Nikon says the CoolPix S80 will be available this fall for a suggested price of $329; the camera will be available in a variety of colors, including black, blue, red, gold, silver, and pink.

AF-S NIKKOR 50mm f/1.8G lens

Nikon has added another high-end lens to its arsenal. Today the manufacturer announced its new AF-S Nikkor 50mm F/1.8G compact lens, which puts some modern features into a classic. A 50mm lens is your standard, traditional model, but Nikon’s comes with some new technology built-in. The entire idea behind a 50mm lens is that it’s supposed to mimic the way a human eye takes in images – forget vignette filters or fisheye manipulations, the 50mm wants things to look how they look. And Nikon’s new addition keeps this in mind while also including enhancements, like its Silent Wave Motor.
The lens’ Silent Wave Motor trades out the traditional gear system that AF lenses use for one that utilizes ultrasonic vibrations. This means all-around smoother, faster focusing operations. Many DSLR beginners may not notice or care about the feature to begin with, but eventually you’ll appreciate the enhancement when you no longer find yourself waiting for your camera’s AF to do its job. And if you can’t decide between AF or MF, the M/A mode allows for quick switching, a helpful element for DSLR beginners and anyone transitioning from entirely auto-operating cameras.
Its f/1.8 aperature translates to clean images, even in low light settings. The Nikkor 50mm f/1.8 also features an aspherical lens, which is both less expensive to produce and decreases aberrations. Nikon’s Super Integrated Coating also helps to simultaneously reduce lens flare and improve color contrast – all while the lens’ inner construction stays true to the 50mm’s intentions and creates natural looking background blur in its image.
The lens will be available June 16 for $219.95. Check out some of the more technical specs below.
  • Focal length: 50mm
  • Max aperture: f/1.8
  • Minimum aperture: f/16
  • Format: FX/35mm
  • Minimum focus distance: 1.48ft
  • Focus mode: Auto, manual, manual/auto
  • Filter size: 58mm
  • Size: (Approximately; diameter x length) 2.8×2.1-inches
  • Weight: (Approximately) 6.6-ounces

Nikon D7000 Review

It’s one of the key truths of the consumer electronics biz: Prices will drop like a rock soon after you buy your new toy. Oh, there are exceptions, like the iPad and iPhone, but you know the drill — buy it today, see a lower price in a month. Amazingly there is a pricey camera, the 16.2-megapixel Nikon D7000, that’s currently defying the laws of CE gravity—if you can even find one. Let’s see why.

Features and Design

The Nikon D7000 doesn’t look radically different than many other mid-range, all-black DSLRs on the market, such as the 18-megapixel Canon EOS 60D ($999 body only). With the 18-105mm kit lens, the Nikon has a no-nonsense vibe that says “I’m a serious camera.” Don’t even think of casually carrying it around. The D7000 measures 5.2 x 4.1 x 3 (WHD, in inches) and weighs 1.5 pounds without a battery, card or lens. Hefty and serious indeed.

Looking closely at the D7000, you get an inkling of its capabilities, but nothing that quite gives away its position as the hottest DSLR on the market. It has the usual Nikon red accent on the grip and a few judiciously-placed logos and icons. Drill down a bit and some of the finer points appear, such as a second LCD readout on the top, and a 3-inch 921K-pixel LCD on the rear. But the real enhancements are internal, as we’ll soon see.

Like any DSLR, the key feature on the front of the D7000 is the lens mount. In this case, it’s a Nikon F bayonet-type, and all functions are possible with AF Nikkor glass. As always, you can spend a small fortune on lenses, but the 5.8x kit lens (18-105mm, 27-157.5mm 35mm equivalent) with built-in Vibration Reduction is a good start. Also up front are an AF Assist lamp and buttons for Function, depth-of-field preview and lens release. There’s a three-pinhole mono mic, so if you want stereo sound for your videos, get ready to spend some extra cash on an aftermarket mic. You can connect one with the handy mic input in one of the side compartments. The pistol grip is solid, and there’s a jog wheel right below the shutter button and power switch.

On the top is the main mode dial, which sits on a perplexing control called a Release-Mode Dial. With it, you change your frame rate (most commonly) such as single frame, continuous low speed (1 to 5 fps) or continuous high speed (6 fps). Access to this dial is good, but in order to turn it, you have to press a nearby locking button at the same time. This seems very convoluted for such a basic and important control. In contrast, Canon cameras have a drive button you simply press to make this adjustment. That said, after some initial fumbling, we made adjustments using the left index and middle fingers. The same dial also gives you access to the self-timer, quiet shutter release option, using a remote control and “Mup” for Mirror up. The main mode dial has the usual options: Auto, Auto flash off, Program AE, Shutter- and Aperture-Priority as well as full Manual. Scene is typical as you can choose specific shooting situations (portrait, landscape and so on, 19 options total). There are also two settings (U1, U2) to save your favorite configurations.

Next to the stacked dials are the flash, hot shoe and control panel LCD, one of the key features separating entry-levels DSLRs from “enthusiast” models (500 clams more is another huge point of difference, but that’s another story). This readout lets you check your settings without having to put the camera in front of your face, and is very handy for shooting on the fly. Next to the shutter are buttons to change metering type and exposure compensation.

The rear has a very good and bright viewfinder with 100-percent field of view and 0.95x magnification (by comparison, the Canon EOS 60D is 96-percent coverage with 0.95x magnification). A diopter control lets you fine-tune it for your eyesight. Below the VF is very good LCD screen rated 921K pixels. The 60D has an articulating 3-inch screen with more dots (1.04 million total), so Canon wins that round.

Surrounding the screen are the usual array of buttons for white balance, ISO and so on, with another jog wheel on the top right to move through menu options and a controller with center OK button. Since this is 2011, there’s a red video dot in middle of the Live View lever—simply pull it to the right, the mirror raises up, press the dot and you can shoot HD video (1920 x 1080 at 24 fps MOV files). There’s a six-pinhole speaker nearby. This is hardly the 1080p at 60 fps of the recently reviewed Panasonic SDT750, but it’s home video nonetheless (more in the performance section).

On the right side is a compartment for two SDHC/SDXC cards. You can put stills on one, video the other if that rings your bell, or just use a single card. The D7000 is the first camera we’re aware of that uses the Ultra High Speed system (UHS-1) for faster read and write speeds. The left side has a compartment with A/V, USB and mini-HDMI outs. A second has inputs for mics and GPS. Near the lens mount is an AF/Manual switch, as well as bracket and flash-open keys.

The bottom of this Made-In-Thailand DSLR has the battery compartment, metal tripod mount, and the contact cover for an optional battery pack. As with lenses, you can spend thousands if you want to trick out your camera. Hold off for a while, since the D7000 is far from cheap to begin with.
What’s in the box

The D700 includes kit includes both the body and 18-105mm VR lens, if you decide on that option. You’ll also get EN-EL15 rechargeable Li-ion battery rated up to 850 shots per CIPA, charger, eyepiece cap, rubber eyecup, USB and A/V cables, strap, LCD monitor cover, body cap, accessory shoe cover and ViewNX 2 software on CD-ROM. For good measure, Nikon includes a 328-page user’s manual for light reading.

Since this camera is one of the first that’s UHS-1 compatible, which allows for up to 45 Mbps read speeds, we popped in a new 16GB SanDisk Extreme Pro SDHC card and hit the streets.

Nikon D5100 Review

There’s no question the economy is tough, but it’s hardly curtailing the lust for DSLRs—especially the newest Nikons. The company is practically selling all they make, but we finally got our hands on one of the biggest sellers. Now let’s see if it’s worth the hype.
Features and design

The 16.2-megapixel Nikon D5100 has the classic look of almost all sub-$1,000 DSLRs. It’s big and bulky thanks primarily to the lens mount and mirror assembly (that’s why mirror-less cameras like the Olympus PEN and Sony NEX series are so cute and cuddly). Although the D5100 is large (5 x 3.8 x 3.1, W x H x D, in inches) and weighs 19.7 ounces for the body alone, the camera has a bit of a plastic feel. Forget the hefty magnesium-alloy frames found on more enthusiast-oriented models like the 24.3-ounce (body only) 16.2-megapixel Nikon D7000, one of our favorite new cameras. That one sets you back $1,199 without a lens, so it’s really in another league.

The D5100 looks very much like the 12.3-megapixel D5000 it replaced, leaving few surprises for camera geeks. The real changes are inside and on the back. Naturally, this DSLR has a Nikon F bayonet lens mount; it works best with AF-S glass, and there are 44 lenses to choose from. Also on the front is an AF Assist lamp, remote sensor in the grip, mono mic for the HD videos, and lens release button. You’ll also see the red Nikon swoosh logo and some low-key text. They’re subtle and relatively sedate.


On the top is a five-pinhole speaker, hot shoe, auto pop-up flash and the critical mode dial. Next to it is a lever to engage Live View for framing images through the LCD screen and to prep the camera for shooting video. Clustered behind the angled shutter are three buttons: red-dot for video, Information (I) to quickly check your settings, and exposure compensation. The mode dial is pretty straightforward with auto, PSAM, flash off, scene (11 options) plus five popular scene modes (portrait, landscape, kids, sports and macro) you can access directly. The effects setting is new. Here you have five filters that add an “artistic” touch to your photos. Whether you think the Color Sketch choice is art or trash is ultimately your call, but we found them fun in a warped way.

When you check out the back, you’ll see one of the biggest changes, vis a vis the D5000. The new camera has a 3-inch vari-angle screen with a hinge on the left. This rotates in a variety of angles so you can take self portraits, hold the camera over your head or at waist level. You really won’t be doing too much one-handed shooting, but it opens up a world of options. The discontinued D5000 had a 2.7-inch screen that just moved out, up and down. The new one is much better, and is rated 921K pixels, a good spec. The D5100’s LCD practically makes it a direct competitor to the Canon EOS T3i, with its 3-inch, 1.04-megapixel vari-angle screen. We really liked this 18-megapixel DSLR and gave it an Editor’s Choice award earlier this year.


Because the LCD is hinged on the left, Nikon had to drop some buttons you’ll typically find on DSLRs, such as White Balance, ISO and resolution. This clearly puts the camera in the casual shooter’s camp, as enthusiasts typically want to tweak these settings on the fly rather than walking through a menu system. It’s not a deal breaker, just something to be aware of. The more expensive Nikon D7000 still has them, since its LCD is more centered and in fixed position.

The buttons you will find include menu, information edit to change your settings, AE-L/AF-L, playback, enlarge, reduce and delete. You’ll also find a jog wheel and four-way controller with center OK button for moving through the menus and making adjustments. Since this DSLR is targeted to casual shooters, there are on-screen captions explaining the various settings as well as thumbnail examples. It’s very nicely done, and is a great help for those moving into DSLR territory for the first time. In the top right is a textured thumb rest to help keep the camera steady.

Although this camera has Live View for framing subjects on the LCD, most of time you’ll use the viewfinder as you hold the D5100 to your face. A nice rubber eyecup makes this move safe and comfortable, while the diopter lets you sharpen it for your eyesight. The viewfinder offers 95-percent field of view and .78x magnification. It’s far from the biggest or brightest we’ve ever used. That said, the T3i is similar, but the D7000 offers 100-percent coverage.

nikon-d5100-right-side-sd-cardOn the right side is a slot for SDHC/SDXC media; the camera handles Eye-Fi cards too. You should use an 8GB card rated at least Class 6. On the left is a compartment with mini HDMI out, USB/A/V out and a GPS input. Also nearby are self-timer/function and flash-open buttons. The bottom of the made-in-Thailand DSLR has a metal tripod mount and the battery compartment. The supplied power source is good for 660 shots, per CIPA. This is a solid figure and — unless you go video crazy — it should last for a full day’s shooting and more.
What’s in the carton

The D5100 kit comes with the camera body and an 18-55mm stabilized zoom. This lens is decent for starting out, but it’s very limited. We were dying for more reach; more on that in a bit. You also get a rechargeable lithium-ion battery, plug-in QuickCharger, eyepiece cap, rubber eyecup, USB and A/V cables, strap, LCD monitor cover, body cap and accessory shoe cover. Nikon supplies a nice printed user’s manual (82 pages in English) as well as quick start guide. There are two CD-ROMs: One has ViewNX 2 software for handling images and developing RAW files, the other has the complete reference manual.

With the battery charged and an 8GB Class 10 card in place, it was time to give the D5100 a workout.
Performance and use

We had the Nikon D5100 outfitted with the 18-55mm kit lens for several weeks, taking it to baseball games, shooting around New Jersey and on several trips into New York City. Resolution was set to JPEG Fine or RAW+JPEG. In the case of a 16.2-megapixel CMOS sensor camera, that means you’re capturing 4928 x 3264 files. Videos were shot at 1920 x 1080 at 30fps in the MOV format.

Before opening the envelope for the results, we’ll state the Nikon D5100 is relatively easy to use once you realize the information edit button gives access to key adjustable parameters. The four-way controller then lets you choose specific options. In other instances, the jog wheel makes the adjustments (such as scene modes). It’s a bit awkward, but something you’ll master in no time. The camera focuses very quickly thanks to an 11-point AF system (the T3i is 9-point). Both have one cross-type sensor. We hate to keep saying it, but the D7000 has 39 points/9 cross type. The D5100 is also quite responsive at 4 frames per second (the Canon T3i hits 3.7fps, D7000 6fps).

Nikon D5100

As noted, the D5100 kit has an 18-55mm lens, which equates to a 27-82.5mm 35mm equivalent. This is very limiting, as we discovered sitting in nosebleed seats at CitiField during a Mets baseball game. Although the wide-angle view of the stadium was good, trying to zero in on the players running the bases was a losing proposition. Having the Nikon P500 with its 36x zoom at the ready would’ve made watching the Mets lose again more palatable. In other words, definitely prepare to invest lots more money for additional glass if you buy this camera. Oh, for general snapshots and DSLR newbies, this 3x lens is OK, but that’s about as far as we would go. And better lenses would be a worthwhile investment, since the basic engine of the 16.2-megapixel D5100 is very good.

After reviewing hundreds of images, we found the colors very accurate with nice reds, solid greens, good whites and yellows. Anyone taking snapshots in auto will be happy with the results. While auto is a good default, it would be a shame limiting yourself to this “green” setting. Once you get the hang of the controls, this camera was meant for exploration — no matter if it’s exposure compensation, white balance, ISO and lots more.

Speaking of sensitivity, one of the key differences between point-and-shoots with small sensors and DSLRs with their larger APS-C imagers is ISO. Typical aim-and-forget cameras may be rated 1600 or 3200, but they start falling apart at ISO 400. The D5100 has a native range of 100 to 6400, but if you choose Hi-1 and Hi-2, you reach 12,800 and 25,600, respectively. In theory you should be able to shoot a black cat snoozing in a dim room. Alas, theory and reality are quite different. We actually tried photographing a flower arrangement in practically a mineshaft-dark room. Without a contrast edge to focus on, the shutter wouldn’t fire. Adding a small candle a few feet away so the D5100 could fire, we took a number of shots at ISO 25,600. Although the results look like something out a French Impressionist exhibition, it was amazing the camera captured anything at all. This was mind blowing. Realistically you can shoot at ISO 6400 without the images falling apart which is quite impressive. That said, if you want larger prints, stay below ISO 1600.

Nikon D5100 color sketch effect

We had to try the filters, which are something of a burgeoning trend thanks to the yeoman efforts of Olympus with their Art Filters. We think things like “miniature effect” and “night vision” are kind of dumb, but “color sketch” might be useful to some. We used it for the buildings surrounding Madison Square Park near the Flatiron Building in NYC. Beauty is in the beholder, and we’ll leave it at that.

Naturally, the Nikon D5100 takes full HD videos (1920 x 1080 at 30fps). For short clips of fairly static subjects, the results are decent, but hardly camcorder level. The Sony SLT-A55V still reins supreme if you’re looking for top-notch video from a DSLR. That said, quality has come a long way from the early days of the Nikon D90 (720p at 24fps). The movies we recorded had good colors and were fluid with few compression artifacts.

If you’re in the market for a new DSLR you can hardly wrong with the Nikon D5100. It takes solid photos and videos, offering the response shutterbugs demand as they move from point-and-shoots to “real” cameras. We weren’t too thrilled with the kit lens, however. It’s an OK starting point but get ready — you’ll soon realize it really doesn’t serve the camera well. When that happens, you’ll end up tapping the credit line for more glass. That’s part of the “fun” of owning a DSLR.

    Quality 16-megapixel images
    3-inch vari-angle LCD (921K pixels)
    ISO range of 100 to 25,600


    Kit lens is just a starting point
    Awkward control system
    Video good not great

Canon Vixia HF M40 Review

Canon’s HF M40 backs off boosting resolution in favor of a bigger sensor, producing quality video but subpar stills.

The first wave of 2011 camcorders has arrived and Canon took a page from its digicam playbook by *reducing* the megapixel count while ostensibly increasing quality. Yes, it’s counterintuitive to the perennial more-is-better theory but let’s see if it works for video as it did for stills.
Features and Design

Canon’s Vixia HF M40 is a decided improvement over last year’s blockier-styled models. While it has a similar horizontal shape, swooping lines and two types of black-toned finishes take it beyond the basics. And while the exterior improvements are a plus, the truly significant changes are inside regarding the imaging sensor and related technologies.

As DigitalTrends.com readers well know, camera manufacturers including Canon have taken a step back from the Megapixel Wars by introducing digicams with fewer but larger pixels such as favorites like the 10-megapixel PowerShot S95 and G12. Rather than cram as many pixels as possible on a small piece of silicon—which usually is a recipe for disaster and digital noise—less pixels is the new mantra for many models targeted to still enthusiasts—now it’s the camcorder buff’s turn. Where last year’s M series camcorders had ¼-inch 3.89-megapixel CMOS sensors, 2011 models have 1/3-inch 2.07MP HD CMOS Pro sensors. This chip is found in the three new M models and the top-of-the-line HF G10. At press events Canon stated the new imager has pixels 61% larger for improved color quality and better results in low light. As always we take these claims with a hefty grain of salt until we actually get one in our hands.

Canon Vixia HF M40Beyond the CMOS sensor, the HF M40 has the features you’d expect in a $700 camcorder. Unlike the Flips of the world, it has a 10x optical zoom lens with a 35mm equivalent of 43.6-436mm, more than enough for typical use although we would prefer a wider angle of view like many new Sonys and Panasonics. Below the lens is a stereo mic as well as an Instant AF sensor. It measures 2.9 x 2.8 x 5.2 (WHD, in inches) and weighs 14.5 ounces with battery and card.

Fortunately the exterior isn’t marred with too many controls and buttons other than power and mode switches while on the top is a zoom toggle and the cover for the hot shoe. Surprisingly there isn’t a dedicated photo snapshot button here—you have to tap the LCD screen to grab a shot. It’s not a deal breaker but different. On the right side is the comfy adjustable strap, a mode switch (Auto, Manual, Cinema), speaker, optional mic input and a compartment for two SDXC card slots, a real plus compared to the competition.

Canon Vixia HF M40

Open the 3-inch widescreen LCD (rated a decent 230K pixels) you see the pluses of a touch panel as there are few hard controls. To the left of the screen is a button to adjust optical image stabilization and access white balance. On the body are four flat buttons to access Video Snap, Story Creator, Playback and Display/Battery Info. Video Snap and Story Creator are two options Canon gives shooters to enhance their videos. Video Snap records a series of short scenes while Story Creator give you hints as to what clips to take for a specific “story” such as Travel. We guess it’s helpful to some but hardly worth the effort. That’s it for the buttons though. USB, A/V, component and mini HDMI outputs are here as well. The rear has the record button, DC-in and battery slot. The supplied battery doesn’t fill the space so it looks a bit unfinished but you can always buy a bigger one to fill it in. The BP-808 battery that comes with the HM40 lasts for 75 minutes in typical start-stop use while the optional BP-819 is 150, making it a worthwhile investment if you pick up this camcorder.
What’s In The Box

The HM40 comes with everything you need other than Class 6 or better cards: battery pack, AC power adapter, remote, stylus pen, USB, A/V and—hurray!–mini HDMI cables. You also get a 204-page Instruction Manual and the two software CD-ROMs contain Pixela Video Browser/Transfer Utility Disc and a photo applications/music disc.

Using the 16GB of onboard flash memory as well as a SanDisk Extreme Pro 16GB SDHC card, it was time to capture some HD video and stills.

Canon Rebel T3 and T3i aim to bring DSLRs to the masses

Canon's new EOS Rebel T3 and T3i aim to make DSLR photography more affordable - and more accessible with consumer-friendly features.

Point-and-shoot cameras have come a long way in terms of resolution and picture quality, but most photo enthusiasts eventually start yearning for the features and control of a DSLR camera…and Canon is looking to tap into that need with its new EOS Rebel T3 and EOS Rebel T3i DSLR cameras. Both cameras aim to make DSLR photography more accessible to beginning and amateur photographer while still offering all the power and flexibility serious picture-takers crave.

“Everyone today is a photographer, and for those looking to capture stunning images and do more with photography, Canon has introduced the EOS Rebel T3i and T3, offering the right balance of high-end features and easy-to-use guidance at a great price,” said Canon USA executive VP and general manager Yuichi Ishizuka, in a statement.

The T3 and T3i represent incremental updates over their predecessors: the T3 weighs in with a 12 megapixel resolution while the T3i steps up to 18 megapixels. Both cameras offer HD video capture capabilities and sport a new EOS Feature Guide that includes an enhanced Quick Settings screen does includes descriptions of camera settings so users can learn how the camera operates while taking their first sets of high-quality photos. The guide also offers directions for how to get the most out of each setting for creative purposes. Of course, the camera also offers fully automatic shooting modes, including modes for portraits, landscapes, close-ups, action, and nighttime shots, and each “Basic Zone” can be tweaked on the fly to adjust for lighting and other conditions.

The Rebel T3i also features a new Vari-Angle three-inch LCD display (the first time Canon has offered one with a DSLR), while the T3 uses a 2.7-inch LCD display. Both cameras support SDXC media, and can be used with more than 60 Canon EF and EF-S lenses.

The Canon Rebel T3i should be available in March for a suggested price of $799.99 for a body-only configuration. (A kit with a EF-S 18–55mm ƒ/3.5–5.6 IS II zoom lens should run $899.99.) The Rebel T3 should land in April with a suggested price of $599.99 with the EF-S 18–55mm ƒ/3.5–5.6 II zoom lens.

Canon EOS 60D Review

What a difference two years makes in DSLR Land. The replacement for 2008’s 50D, the new Canon EOS 60D not only has more resolution, higher ISO capability and the ability to take Full HD videos, it even has a swivel LCD screen. Given all these improvements, the price happily remains the same. Let’s see if this $1,100 camera is worth the cash…
Features and Design

Front on, the EOS 50D and 60D could be twins other than the remote control sensor on the new camera’s pistol grip. Like the older model, the 60D is a dressed-in-black DSLR with a nicely textured surface. The hefty camera feels solid, as it should since it weighs about 1.5 pounds before the lenses are attached. You have a choice of 60-plus EF and EF-S lenses to choose from; we tested it with an EF-S 18-135mm stabilized zoom. Canon is always judicious with labels and decals so the 60D has a subtle vibe (if carrying a black brick around can be subtle). On the front you’ll also find an AF Assist lamp, lens release button, DC-in and a mono microphone. There’s an input on the side for an external stereo mic in case you want enhanced sound for your videos. Nice touches are audio level controls in the menu system. Speaking of GUIs, the menu system is the basic tree/branch format Canon’s used for years. It’s not an iPad but understandable and easy to use.

When you look at the top of EOS 60D you’ll notice a key feature that separates this type of DSLR from those targeted to newbies—it has a large status display. Since avid shutterbugs want to know exactly what their settings are, a quick glance at the LCD display does that. As you tweak the camera (ISO, metering, focus and so on) you can quickly see the changes. Press a button with a light blub icon near it, and the display lights up for making adjustments in the dark. On the left side is the mode dial and this has a new wrinkle. You must press the button in the middle of the dial to turn it since it locks into position. Canon said they did this in response to consumers whose dials moved during a session. This has never happened to us but if it makes people happy, why not? For the next go-round, Canon engineers should allow the dial to turn 360-degrees so you don’t have to turn it back-and-forth to access the 15 options ranging from auto, full manual and movie. Sitting behind the auto pop-up flash is a hot shoe and there are four buttons above the LCD display (AF, Drive, ISO and Metering) to access those features. Near these buttons is a nicely-positioned jog dial for advancing through options and an angled shutter button on the comfortable grip.

The back of the EOS 60D features the major design difference with the 50D. Instead of a fixed position 3-inch LCD monitor, the 60D has a vari-angle 3-incher rated 1.04MP versus 921K of the discontinued model. Tiltable screens are great for taking shots at different angles rather than just eye level. When you’re not using the screen, it can be turned inwards to protect the surface. Good stuff…

Of course you’ll find the viewfinder here with diopter control – it’s fairly bright with 96% coverage. A feature popping up on more cameras is an Electronic Level Display where an onscreen line appears, helping you take a straight horizon. It easily appears on the 3-inch LCD by pressing in the Info key in Live View but takes engaging a custom key setting to see it in the lower part of the viewfinder; it’s not as cool since it just shows angle intensity (1-9) not a line like you’d see in a flight sim. It’s helpful but not nearly as good as the LCD display. The Sony SLT-A55V has this in its viewfinder screen because it’s an EVF rather than the optical viewfinder used in most other DSLRs.

Another difference between the 50D/60D is the red dot record button for HD videos found here. Unlike a digicam where you simply hit the record button and capture movies, with this DSLR you need to turn the mode dial to Movie, then hit the button. It’s just an additional step, no big issue. We did have an issue with the new 8-direction Multi-Control Dial which is within the larger Quick Control Dial. It’s not very intuitive as to what this inner dial controls (it’s used to select AF points among other things). From left to right you’ll see easily understandable keys for on/off, delete, menu. Info, playback, Q for quick access to camera adjustments which vary by mode, AF on and zoom keys to closely examine images.

On the right side is the SDHC/SDXC card compartment while the left has a small speaker and external mic, mini HDMI, USB and remote control ins/outs. The bottom of the Made In Japan ESO 60D has a metal tripod mount and the battery compartment.

Canon EOS Rebel T3i Review

It’s time to really shake off the winter blahs and take some photos and video with the new Canon T3i DSLR. Is it worth the trip outdoors? We charge the battery and find out in our full review below, so read on.
Features and Design

Take a quick glance at the Canon EOS Rebel T3i and you’ll hardly be surprised at its form and style. It looks just like many other entry-level and mid-range DSLRs on the market. Look closely at the back of the T3i, however, and you’ll see one of its coolest features: a 3-inch vari-angle LCD screen rated an impressive 1 million pixels (before you go wild, realize this is pixel count is just slightly more than the 921K of Nikon’s D7000). The key point is its flexibility compared to the Nikon, which has a fixed screen. With the Canon, you can hold the camera over your head or aim low while pressing the shutter. This opens a world of new angles for your photography, and you should definitely make use of it if you buy this camera. At the very least, you can turn it around so the screen is protected as you shoot with the optical viewfinder.

Canon EOS Rebel T3i Like every DSLR, the most important feature on the front is the lens mount. In this case, the all-black T3i has a Canon EF mount and accepts over 60 EF-S lenses. Also here is a remote sensor on the very comfortable grip with a nicely textured surface, a 4-pinhole mic, lens release and depth-of-field preview buttons.

On the top is the hot shoe for accessories, which sits behind the auto pop-up flash, the mode dial, power switch, display and ISO buttons as well as jog wheel to make menu adjustments. The shutter is angled on the grip. The mode dial is typical for Canon, with a mix of common scene and manual options as well as a movie setting. The newest is “A+” — Scene Intelligent Auto — which is a souped-up smart auto. Here the camera analyzes the subject in front of it and adjusts Picture Style Auto plus the Automatic Lighting Optimizer, auto white balance, autofocus and automatic exposure. We found it worked well, but there are plenty of tweaks available for Picture Styles once you move out of A+.

The back of the T3i has that great screen and an optical viewfinder with 95-percent coverage and 0.85x magnification. It’s not the brightest viewfinder we’ve ever used, but it’s definitely workable. It’s surrounded by a rubber eyecup and a nearby diopter control lets you adjust it to your eyesight. You’ll also find the usual blizzard of buttons including Menu, Info, Live View, Exposure Compensation, Q, Playback and Delete. The four-way controller gives quick access to AF, Picture Styles, burst/self-timer and white balance. In the top right corner are two buttons to enlarge or shrink the size of your images during playback. Also here is a comfortable thumb rest with a textured finish and tiny speaker.

Canon EOS Rebel T3i

On the right side of the camera is a compartment for your SD card (it accepts SDXC) while the left has two rather flimsy doors. One gives access to A/V and mini-HDMI outs, while the second has inputs for mics and remotes. The bottom of the Made In Japan DSLR has a metal tripod mount and battery compartment. The camera measures 5.2 x 3.9 x 3.1 (W x H x D, in inches) and weighs 18.2 ounces (body only). For comparison, the popular Editor’s Choice 16-megapixel Nikon D7000 has similar dimensions but weighs 6 ounces more as it has a beefier frame and ruggedized build.

The T3i is a well-designed (for the most part) DSLR that’s easy enough to pick up and start shooting. Mastering all of its intricacies will take time, of course. If you just want to fire away in A+, by all means do so, but it would be a shame not to tweak it.
What’s in the box

The camera body and whichever kit lens you choose (our review sample had the 18-135mm stabilized lens). You also get a hefty 324-page owner’s manual, strap, body cap, USB and A/V cables, battery and charger. The battery is rated 550 shots without the flash, 440 using the flash 50 percent of the time, per CIPA. These are solid specs and unless you’re recording video all day long, the battery should survive an extended outing in the field. You also get two CD-ROMs. One is the EOS Digital Solution Disk with Mac and Windows software for editing photos and developing RAW files. The other is the software instruction manual. We charged the battery, loaded a 16GB SanDisk Extreme Pro SDHC card and went on our merry way.

Motorola unveils two Xoom 2 tablets – a 10.1-inch standard and 8.2-inch Media Edition

Motorola has revealed two new Xoom tablets: the 8.2-inch Xoom 2 Media Edition and the 10.1-inch standard Xoom 2.

A few days ago, we got a sneak peak at one of the Xoom 2s, but today Motorola officially revealed its two new tablets. The only issue: they are currently only bound for the UK. Both new Xooms feature Android 3.2 (Honeycomb), a 1280×800 display, a 1.2GHz dual-core processor, 1GB of RAM, 16GB of internal storage, a 5MP rear camera, a 1.3MP front camera, gorilla glass screens with a splashguard, and a “go anywhere, do anything attitude,” which is always nice. You don’t want to buy a tablet with a “go nowhere, do nothing attitude,” do you? 
Xoom 2 (10.1 inches)


The 10.1-inch Xoom 2 is the direct successor of the original Xoom and the Xoom Family Edition. It measures only 8.8mm thick and weighs only 600g, meaning it is one of the thinner and lighter tablets on the market now. It also comes with “3D virtual surround sound,” which is a bit better than the sound in the Xoom 2 Media Edition, but by how much, we do not know. Finally, the battery life of the larger Xoom 2 is said to be 10+ hours while surfing the Web or 1 month if in stand-by.
Xoom 2 Media Edition (8.2 inches)


This is an interesting new size for a tablet. We’ve seen 7-inch, 10.1-inch, and even 8.9-inch Android devices, but nothing at 8.2 inches yet, so we’re excited to try it out. The 8.9-inch Samsung Galaxy Tab is among our favorite new tablets. The Media Edition is actually a hair thicker than the standard Xoom 2 at 8.99mm and it has a slightly different sound system, this time without 3D surround, but with a subwoofer. The battery life suffers a bit from the smaller size though, at only 6 hours of Web usage, though it can pump out 3 days worth of music, if that tickles your fancy. The Media Edition also comes with an app that lets it be used as a universal remote control.

Below is an official YouTube video showcasing the two tablets, which will be available at Carphone Warehouse, Best Buy, PC World, and Dixons and Currys in the UK. No pricing or US availability has been announced.

Laser treatment changes eye color permanently in less than a minute

A new, relatively quick cosmetic procedure can permanently change your brown eyes blue thanks to the efforts of a doctor in California.

Cosmetic eye procedures have reached a new turning point as a doctor in Laguna Beach, California has managed to discover a way to permanently transform brown eyes to blue.

Utilizing lasers, the permanent procedure beams an intricate laser directly into the brown pigment found in the iris, essentially nullifying the pigment and, over time, shedding its melanin and revealing the blue color found underneath. The entire procedure takes about a minute, reportedly has no damaging effect on the eye, with the permanent pigment change taking about 2-3 weeks to complete.

A culmination of over ten years worth of work, the patent was filed by Dr. Gregg Homer in 2001, with the goal set for the cosmetic treatment to be available in the states by 2014. The whole procedure could set you back roughly $5000 — no word yet, however, on whether this treatment could be expanded upon to allow for other eye colors.

Samsung PL210 Review

The Samsung PL210 has a simple setup while boasting some impressive specs – namely, it’s 10x optical zoom and wide angle lens. The camera performs admirably for a pocket cam, but touting itself as a supremely thin design housing big capabilities is a bit of an overstatement: It’s neither shockingly tiny nor does it absolutely blow the competition away.

But that doesn’t make it bad. Many of the PL210’s functions are easy to use and at a $199.99 pricetag, there’s plenty for the exclusive-handheld camera set to enjoy.
Features and design

The PL210 has one undeniably impressive feature, and that’s its 14.2 megapixel sensor combined with its 10x optical zoom. Its dual image stabilization and 3-inch LCD are also nothing to sneeze at, but the pocket cams serious selling points are its superzoom, wide angle capabilities and pocket cam size.

Samsung PL210That said, the chassis does not have a $200 feel. It isn’t particularly slim or sturdy–it falls somewhere between fitting comfortably in your pocket and just big enough to be a nuisance. It isn’t obnoxiously large or bulky, but you aren’t going to be picking this device up because you can easily slip it into your back pocket. Basically, there’s nothing to ooh and aah about when it comes to its body and build. It can actually be a little unsteady when sitting on a flat surface.

Its dedicated power and shutter buttons are responsive and sit on top of the camera, thankfully separated from all other controls. On that note, the PL210 has a particularly simple UI. Mode, Menu, Playback, and trash function have designated buttons, while all other controls can be found on the mode dial. It’s an easy, familiar setup, so no surprises there.

Samsung PL210

The PL210 comes with a variety of what are becoming standard built-in features, like a smart filter, face, blink, and smile detection, and beauty shot to minimize general unsightliness. Right on trend, it also has a variety of art filters.
What’s in the box

Aside to the PL210, Samsung outfits you with a rechargeable AD43-00199A battery, an AC adapter/USB cable, a camera strap, the Quick Start manual, and a user manual CD.

RIM officially launches BBM music service

RIM has officially launched its BlackBerry music-sharing service, after beta-testing the application since August. Called BBM Music, it will be available for download within the next day.

Here are the nuts and bolts of BBM music: Basically, you setup your profile by choosing 50 songs, and then you add more music to your catalog by finding and adding your friends’ profiles and gaining access to their libraries. So the best way to make use of the service is to make sure your friends do — which isn’t a bad move on RIM’s part, considering how popular the BBM service is to begin with. However, seeing as it’s a corporate world application, we’re not entirely convinced this will help rake in users.

RIM optimistically explains the scheme: “Let’s say you have 10 BBM friends with BBM Music subscriptions, and they each have 50 songs in their music profiles. From those friends alone, plus the 50 songs you downloaded to start your profile, you could have 550 songs in no time, right on your BlackBerry smartphone!”

The obvious hitch is that you only have a certain amount of say over your collection — and you obviously have to hope your BBM friends get on board, as well. It’s a bit of an obstacle to overlook.

BBM Music includes a stream of what you and your friends are listening to, and you can sync the music to your phone, or save to your microSD card, to access if all your BBM friends go offline. Users can get a free premium trial for the next two months, but after that it will cost $4.99 a month. There’s also a free option, which offers shorter song previews.

The competition for streaming music services is fierce, as nearly every mobile and Web entity has thrown their hats into the ring. And while this results in a few lacking services here and there, the greatest impact is that iTunes’ locked grip on music distribution has begun to loosen.

Canon PIXMA MG5320 Review

A barebones printer under $100 may be the most obvious choice when you need to lay ink to paper, but enhanced MFPs like Canon’s new $150 MG5320 offer plenty of functionality to lure ambitious users a little further up the price ladder. Besides the all-in-one functionality it shares with many cheaper competitors, the MG5320 boasts a 3.0-inch LCD and scroll wheel for navigation, built-in Wi-Fi, prints on CDs and DVDs, autoduplexes for two-side printing without hassles, and can print from smartphones with Canon’s free Easy-PhotoPrint app.

We found that the MG5320 largely delivers on these features, but users should be willing to put up with some glitches and minor frustrations (think reconnecting to the Wi-Fi network or waiting for processing to finish). That said, it’s affordability and print quality, not to mention ease-of-use, make up for these shortcomings.
Build and design

The MG5320 wins points for its lack of angles. The printer is capable of folding down into a completely flat-sided box: Both trays and the pop-up display can be pushed in, and you don’t have to remember to open that tray when printing either. It will automatically unfold itself if you forget to do so. It’s a generally sleek-looking printer, with the exception of the massive amount of finger prints it picks up.

The printer’s controls are located entirely on top of the machine, and a small 3-inch LCD. That 3-inch specification is sort of stretching the truth, seeing that there’s a fairly thick black border around the screen, giving you less viewing room. This means it’s a little under a 2.5-inch screen. We didn’t find this terribly inhibiting, because of the control scheme. Users scroll through the Pixma’s main options as screen-filling pages, instead of viewing them simultaneously laid out in a main menu. This may sound slightly disorienting (it’s different than how most electronic home screens look!) but it’s not, and it means the icons are big, bold, bright, and captioned.

pixma-mg5320-front-paper-slotThe display’s in-screen functions mean the Pixma’s physical surfaces are relatively empty. There’s a power button, controls for home, B&W and color printing, a control to cancel printing, a back button, and a dial with OK to select in the middle. Above this are three “function” controls, which are used to select options presented on the LCD display.

Oddly, photo printing pulls from the Pixma’s rear tray. We were primarily printing 4×6 photos, and the giant tray looked somewhat ridiculous for that size. Obviously, this isn’t a caveat or really a problem at all, just non-traditional if anything. There’s a sliding paper guide to hold the sheet size of your choice in place. The paper tray can be found below, and documents feed into the fold-out tray on the very front of the Pixma.

Setup and use

There isn’t much to setup here. After heaving the printer out of its box (which is never a small feat, but the Pixma’s rectangular shape helps) and installing the ink cartridges, it’s all a matter of walking through menus. The power button will pull up the home screen, and you’ll need to decide whether you want to hook the Pixma up via USB or Wi-Fi.

Now here’s where the button placement can get a little confusing. A typical scenario: Scroll using the arrows on the physical dial until you find Setup. It’s off to the right, so you’ll want to press the right arrow – but that won’t do anything. Instead, you’re supposed to press the function button below the icon. This is not a big deal, but if you’ve used dials like this on digital cameras or video game controllers, it’s a little disorienting at first and takes awhile to get used to. We continually found ourselves pressing the dial’s arrows and wondering why nothing was happening. Luckily, Canon gives you a gentle reminder to look for the “function” buttons directly below the in-screen icons.


If you choose to use Wi-Fi printing, you’ll need to find the right network and then go through the somewhat-painful process of entering the password. There’s obviously not a keyboard, so you have to find the correct characters one at a time.

The pop-up screen is a clever solution, and one we enjoyed using. It has an almost plastic-toy feel to it, which some might equate with cheap, but it didn’t feel breakable to us. There are four “home” screens you scroll through, and the home and back buttons do a good job of keeping you from getting lost.
Innovative features

For its modest $150 price, the Pixma really does manage to live up to the title of multifunction printer. In addition to photo and document printing, Wi-Fi, scanning, it also includes CD and DVD printing capabilities. Unfortunately, it’s not exactly a simple process. You manual insert the included platform, and the in-screen navigation doesn’t include the most detailed instructions for this process. The manual software does the best job of assisting you here, but it’s not tremendously quick or easy.

Of course, it’s a function that most MFPs don’t include to begin with, and we can’t imagine it’s used all that often. It’s worth noting that the platform that you insert to print on CDs and DVDs can’t be stored anywhere on the printer itself, so it’s a loose object you have to take care not to lose.

pixma-mg5320-scan-glassWe liked the quick connection between the PC and the printer. When scanning or sending a scanned document or photo to the PC, our computer screen registered the activity almost instantly, basically giving us a little sign it was hearing the printer and working on it. The microSD slot is conveniently tucked into the side of the printer as well, with a discreet door. Too often, electronics have their ports around the back or near the bottom edge, and with a device you don’t want to move around – like a printer – putting this feature front and center is helpful. A USB port for thumb drives is directly below.

The Pixma boasts a 150-sheet paper tray, as well as its rear tray for other materials (photo paper, etc). The output tray holds up to 50 sheets – but our favorite feature was how it automatically popped open when we started a print job.

Canon’s mobile Easy-PhotoPrint app (for both iOS and Android) connected to the Pixma just fine. It lets you set up a printing queue with different details (photo paper type, size, borders) for each individual image. Transferring the print job from the phone to the printer was just as quick as printing from a PC.

One other included feature that doesn’t get a lot of attention, but that’s definitely worth noting, is the Pixma’s auto-duplexing. It means the printer automatically prints on both sides of the paper instead of forcing you to manually reinsert pages to print on the backs. This isn’t a huge hassle, but it keeps you from wasting paper (and money) without thinking about it.
Print performance

We started out by testing the Pixma’s photo printing abilities, and were impressed. It’s quite fast, and quality was good, even more so using Canon’s own photo paper. We tested with stock photo paper and the photos looked grainier. However, even extremely dark pictures were nice and black where they should be, no gray tones.

Printing a full page proved difficult. We initially attempted to print a very detailed image as an 8×10, then as a 4×6, and the MG5320 quit about halfway through each time, with no warning of an ink shortage or error message. We had a different glitch with document printing as well: We attempted to print a full page of directions, sending it from the PC to the printer. This happened more than once, and the Pixma would start recognizing the print job, only to suddenly return to the home screen. The computer would show it was still attempting to print, however, and we were stuck waiting to see if the printer would acknowledge the request. After reconnecting the printer to the Wi-Fi network, it started working. Strangely, we never experienced this glitch with photo printing.


Once we were able to print, text was crisp and black and fairly quick. In one test, we printed three, rich full-text documents in about one minute, and three high-quality 4×6 photos in about two minutes. Nothing very remarkable as far as speed – although the “fast” setting was quicker and didn’t appear to sacrifice much quality. Canon’s stated speeds are 12.5 images per minute in black, with color trailing slightly behind at 9.3 images per minute, and 20 seconds for 4×6 photo prints.

We printed, scanned, and then reprinted a few photos and text documents as well – a test of both the scanner’s accuracy and how well the printer can reproduce images. While quality naturally went down with each reprint, our photos were still rich and print was still easy to read. One of the best features about the machine is how quiet it is as well. Everything is a fairly silent process, which a “quiet” setting (easily found from the home screen) improves even more. The only exception is the brief “processing” stage as the MG5320 prepares to print and makes a few clicking noises.

Something that’s incredibly important to consider before buying a printer is its ink costs. And the Pixma’s are pretty fair: A black cartridge is $16, and cyan, magenta, and yellow cartridges are $14 apiece. They last for 339 and between 486 and 530 pages, respectively. It’s not the least expensive ink pricing out there, but it’s pretty reasonable for small-volume printers.

Honestly, we’re so taken with Wi-Fi printers that choosing one without wireless functionality in 2011 is somewhat difficult to justify. We were happy with how easily the Pixma MG5320 connected to our computer, and the provided Canon software was actually quite helpful for printing and formatting photos.

Unfortunately, the printing glitches were extremely frustrating. Struggling with your printing is never fun, but it’s almost more maddening when you can see via the pop-up screen that your requests are being ignored. That said, simple restarts generally worked as a fix, and we don’t want to dismiss an otherwise capable printer if these results weren’t typical. Glitches aside, the Pixma MG5320 was easy to setup and navigate, printed high-quality photos, zipped out pages quickly, and barely made a peep compared to some noisy competitors. At $150, it brings a lot to the table if you’re willing to make a few sacrifices working through its kinks.

    Printing is extremely quiet
    Slick, compact design
    Packs a punch for its price and size


    Glitchy out of the box
    Initially disorienting button placement

Canon PowerShot ELPH 510 HS Review

One of Canon’s newest digicams features a 12.1MP CMOS sensor, a potent wide-angle 12x zoom and, of course, high-def video capability. Yet its signature feature is a 3.2-inch touchscreen LCD monitor and interface. Now we’ll see if “cool” taps and swipes are worth the extra money.
Features and Design

Canon’s ELPH digital cameras have sleek and easily-recognized designs. Available in red, silver or black, the 3.8 x 2.3 x .86 digicam looks good with soft, rounded edges and easily fits in a pocket; making it great for vacations or simply carrying it at all times. The 510 HS weighs in at just 7.3 ounces. There’s a bit too much text on the front for our taste, but check out the photos as it may be fine for you. (Our review sample was a deep red and we liked it.)

canon-powershot-elph-510-hs-review-red-front-angleThe tour of the 510 HS will be a quick one as it probably has the fewest buttons and dials we’ve recently encountered on a fully-featured digicam. On the front is a 12x optical zoom with a range of 28-336mm, a great figure for such a slim camera. Canon also has a 14x compact zoom tucked into its 12MP $329 SX230 HS but that one doesn’t have a touchscreen and is just a tad thicker. Also on the front of the 510 HS is an AF Assist lamp and flash.

On the top deck are two pinhole mics for stereo recording, a tiny mode switch, on/off key and shutter button surrounded by the zoom toggle. There’s also a three-pinhole mono speaker. The mode switch has only two options—Smart Auto and Camera. Since the only other button on the camera is Playback on the lower right of the back, everything—and we mean everything—is adjusted via the touchscreen.

The screen measures 3.2-inches (diagonal) and is rated a solid 461K pixels. We had no issues outside in sunshine or indoors in dim light. When you’re in photo mode, two series of icons flank the basically square, center image you’re capturing. Depending on the setting, the options at your fingertips or the supplied stylus will vary. In Smart Auto you tap Function on the lower left to change things like aspect ratio, resolution (still/movie). On the right are a red-dot video control, flash adjustment, touch shutter on/off and Display. With Display you change the number of icons appearing on the screen. The camera has grid lines but you have to delve into setup to engage it.

canon-powershot-elph-510-hs-review-red-rear-lcd-touchscreenMove out of Smart auto and you have access to Program, a variety of scene modes and art filters. You can swipe though four screens with six options on each. Tap the one you want are you’re good to go. The Scene modes are fairly standard (Portrait, Kids&Pets, Foliage and so on). Of note is iFrame Movie for transferring content to Apple devices, High-Speed Burst (7.8 fps at 3MP), Handheld Night Scene as well as Fish-Eye, Miniature and Toy Camera effect filters. In Program you can also adjust ISO, white balance and several other parameters but this baby is really point-and-shoot so forget aperture- and shutter-priority. If that’s important, check out the SX230 HS but kiss the taps and swipes goodbye.

On the right side is a compartment with USB and mini HDMI outs along with a wrist strap anchor. The left is clean. On the bottom are compartments for a very small lithium-ion rechargeable battery, memory card slot and tripod mount. The battery is rated only 170 shots per CIPA so a spare is really a must. The ELPH accepts all types of SD cards as well as Eye-Fi.
What’s In The Box

You’ll get the camera body, wrist strap with integral small stylus, battery (which looks like a sophisticated AA), USB cable and a 36-page Getting Started booklet. The supplied CD-ROM (ver. 93), has the full manual and software guide along with Canon’s software for handling files (Windows/Mac).

Since the 510 HS shoots HD video, a 6 or 8GB card make sense since 4GB holds 14 minutes of 1920×1080 24fps video. And definitely opt for Class 6 or higher rated memory card.
Performance and Use

Since the PowerShot 510 HS has a 12.1-megapixel CMOS imager, maximum still resolution is 4000×3000 pixels while video is 1920×1080 at 24 frames per second using the MOV format. For the record, several new cameras offer 1080/60p so this camera is hardly state-of-the-art. You may not need it as we were pretty happy viewing the Canon’s clips on a 50-inch plasma.

We had the PowerShot ELPH 510 HS with us over the course of several weeks. As noted, this is a very compact camera so carrying it around was barely a chore. It’s nice having a 12x zoom in such a small digicam—just slightly thicker than a basic aim-and-forget camera. We had it with us at a family wedding and it was fun grabbing a wide shot of the bridal party, then zooming in on the happy bride and groom. The 510 HS has a good opening wide angle of 28mm but our preference is to 26mm or 24mm.


DigitalTrends.com readers know we’ve been fans of Canon point-and-shoots for many years as most deliver very good picture quality with rich colors and that nice Canon pop. The 510 HS is in the same camp as we were very happy with the overall results. One of the reasons for the superior images is the fact it has optical image stabilization to help remove the shakes from your shots. We took some close-ups of the bride and groom walking down the aisle and the photos—for the most part—were rock solid.

Now everything isn’t wonderful with the camera. Even though it has burst modes of 3.3 (full resolution) and 7.8 (3MP) fps, when using the flash it’s one at a time. Even with the AF Assist lamp, it took the camera several seconds to grab focus in a dimly lit ballroom. The results of these flash shots were quite good but it’s really best for static situations such as groups of smiling faces staring back at you. Trying to get good images of fast dancers in low light was a bust.

The HS in the camera’s name stands for High Sensitivity and Canon promotes the fact you can take quality shots in low light thanks to the CMOS sensor and DIGIC 4 processor. We’ll give them partial credit for that claim. Our test ISO shots held up well up to ISO 800 then started to display digital noise and color shifts at 1600 and 3200 (the maximum setting). You could probably get away with a small print or online photo at such lofty levels but if it were us, 800 would be highest we’d go. The 510 HS does have a favorite option of ours—Handheld Night Scene—that combines three images in low light for less noise and better overall color. You should definitely use this. In keeping with an overall trend, the camera has several art filters (Toy Camera, Miniature and so on). They weren’t nearly as impressive as Olympus’ Dramatic Tone but they’re fun nonetheless.


Video quality is impressive, given the slower frame rate than the competition. You can zoom the entire focal length and the sound is also good, given just two pinhole mics. The clips held up nicely on a 50-inch screen—and you can’t ask for more than that from a $349 camera.

As for the touchscreen interface, it’s not as sensitive as we’d like it to be. We used fingertips most of the time rather than the stylus on the wrist strap and found we had to do double taps to engage the setting we wanted. Swiping through screens and menus was a bit more accurate but let’s put it this way—Canon still has a long way to go to reach iPad interface levels. It’s not awful–we just wanted it to be better.

Another negative is the small battery. Rated at 170 shots by CIPA, we hit that figure even after using the flash often and playing back videos. If you buy this camera, a spare would be must, especially if you’re out in the wild with nary an outlet to be found.

The Canon PowerShot 510 HS is a solid 12MP camera with a very useful 12x zoom. Image quality is very good and the movies are more than satisfactory. Optical Image Stabilization is also a real plus. We had our issues with the touchscreen interface and would strongly recommend you try it out before purchasing—or just make sure the retailers doesn’t have a restocking fee in case it disappoints. We weren’t thrilled enough with the PowerShot 510 HS to bestow an Editor’s Choice award, but it remains a solid point-and-shoot worthy of our recommendation.

    Good quality stills/videos
    Nicely implemented touchscreen UI
    Compact package, large 12x zoom


    Definitely for static subjects
    Relatively slow AF response
    Sub-par battery life (get a spare)

Apple awarded patent for unlocking touchscreens

If you own a phone or tablet that requires you to slide the screen to unlock the device then it is now officially infringing on Apple's latest patent. Apple now owns the patent for unlocking touchscreen devices with a sliding motion.

Apple might have just been awarded the patent to rule all other mobile patents, and made all future legal battles more interesting. As of this morning Apple is officially the only company that is allowed to unlock a touchscreen device by using a sliding motion. We see this used on Apple devices as the familiar “slide to unlock” screen, but almost every other touch screen phone or tablet on the market currently use some form of sliding to unlock the device.

Apple originally applied for the patent way back in December of 2005, but it did not appear on a device until January 2007 when Steve Jobs unveiled the original iPhone. Seeing how every single Android device uses some form of sliding gesture to unlock the device this might be a momentous patent in the ongoing legal battles.

Samsung has been very publicly fighting Apple over patents in the recent months. Google recently purchased Motorola Mobility to protect Android from patent attacks from Apple or Microsoft. After reviewing the 18 most important patents involved in the Motorola purchase we can see that none of them protect them from Apple’s latest patent.

The language of the patent is very open, and basically any sliding motion used on a touch screen to unlock a device will infringe on the patent. It will be very interesting to see how this newly awarded patent will impact the future legal battles among touch screen operating systems. Read the description of the patent below.

A device with a touch-sensitive display may be unlocked via gestures performed on the touch-sensitive display. The device is unlocked if contact with the display corresponds to a predefined gesture for unlocking the device. The device displays one or more unlock images with respect to which the predefined gesture is to be performed in order to unlock the device. The performance of the predefined gesture with respect to the unlock image may include moving the unlock image to a predefined location and/or moving the unlock image along a predefined path. The device may also display visual cues of the predefined gesture on the touch screen to remind a user of the gesture. In addition, there is a need for sensory feedback to the user regarding progress towards satisfaction of a user input condition that is required for the transition to occur.