Gadget corner

7th January 2005 at 00:00
Dell Axim X50

Well, we hit it off to start with, but writing by hand on my Palm Tungsten E failed to improve and it finally dampened my enthusiasm. Perhaps left-handedness had finally hit the technological buffers. However, the Dell Axim X50 disproved that theory - it wasn't my writing. But these gizmos still need more tweaking.

Perhaps there's more life in PDAs before we finally bow to the inevitable and put all our contacts, diaries and other data on to one device - the mobile phone. The Axim X50 is light, sleek and effective, and makes an HP iPaq feel clumsy in comparison. It's as connectable as anyone might need, with Bluetooth, infrared and wi-fi - connecting to other devices is as simple as could be. And it has slots for CompactFlash and Secure Digital memory cards.

It's a little expensive at between pound;278 and pound;300, but for those whose priorities are Windows, Windows, Windows - and there are plenty of them - it packs more punch for your pound, at a smaller size, than most of its rivals. Its comprehensive facilities include a headphone jack which turns it into a cool MP3 player. Pity its graphics come nowhere near those of the Tungsten, otherwise a switch could have been in order.

MIGO for iPod

We've already reviewed a MIGO flash memory device (TES Online September 10, 2004) and underlined the fact that it was the software rather than the hardware that was significant. It synchs your PC desktop and documents into the memory card so that you can replicate your own PC on any PC you happen to use (as long as the hardware is up to it). Now MIGO has gone further and you can use the huge capacity of an iPod to take your own PC anywhere you want. Which would you rather carry, a laptop or an iPod? You can find out more at:


Two new inkjet printers from Canon's PIXMA range - the iP4000R and iP6000D (each from around pound;180) - with their designer good looks, exemplify the new directions in printing. The iP4000R has wireless networking capability (it has a USB and an Ethernet connector too). Set-up is simple and within minutes you can send documents to a printer situated in a convenient place (ie anywhere there is a power socket). Wonderful for the home - and useful anywhere else for that matter.

For document printing, both printers are fine, and there are separate ink reservoirs to help you save on replacements (at least that's the theory).

Other advantages are that they are duplex printers - ie can print both sides of a document - and you can print direct from a digital camera (PictBridge). However, double-check the iP4000R for reproducing your photographs, as I found picture quality disappointing, unlike that of the iP6000D (pictured above), which Canon markets as "the photographer's printer".

The iP6000D can handle most memory cards and you can print direct from them or from the camera - so you don't need a computer for most of your photo printing. There's even a little colour LCD screen to help you. Prints are rich and intense and you can tone them down if it suits.

Both printers also have spare paper trays underneath, ideal for storing your photo paper so you don't have to switch paper over every time you want to print a photo - just press a button instead.

If the iP6000D had the wireless capability it really would have been hard to send it back. Perhaps users will gravitate to one printer for documents and one for photos, or just place a good all-round printer on a simple wireless access point like Apple Airport Express (pound;99).

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