New ways of controlling multimedia content without leaving your chair.
Toshiba M700 tablet
Toshiba remains a committed supporter of the tablet PC format, and has just released its fourth-generation model. The mid-sized notebook weighs in at 2kg, but the specifications have not been compromised. The touch-screen features both an active digitiser layer for use with the provided radio pen and a passive layer that responds to a finger, which takes getting used to. Additionally, it sports a fingerprint reader for security. It has a 2.0GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T7250 with 2MB of L2 cache and an 800MHz frontside bus. It comes with 2GB of RAM, which helps the default Windows Vista Business OS. The hard-drive is a 120GB unit with shock-protection. It also houses an optical drive, flash card reader, PC Card slot and three USB 2.0 ports. All in all, it's a solid device built for road warriors and consumers who want that extra oomph from their laptop.
Logitech Z cinema 2.1 surround system
Logitech's new 2.1 surround sound PC speaker system has everything that you would crave - such as a colossal subwoofer, a remote control and integrated IR receiver - making it an ideal peripheral for Windows Media Center systems. Additionally, the black gloss looks great in the living room. Integration with Windows Media Center, Vista Ultimate and Home Premium is excellent - but functionality would be limited on other Windows versions. The system connects to a PC via USB for fully digital sound that bypasses your soundcard. Overall, it's a unique but pricey speaker option - a definite choice for the hardcore Windows audiophiles.
Gear 4 bluestream RX
If you already have a decent hi-fi system that you want to wirelessly stream content from your mobile phone, then the Bluestream RX is the ideal device. This Bluetooth receiver plugs in the line-in port of your system and allows you to receive A2DP (Advanced Audio Distribution Profile) music with the advantage that you can use your portable device as the remote control. With many more gadgets now supporting the A2DP protocol, you will also be able to stream audio content from a range of hardware - such as laptops and standalone media players. However, the fidelity of the streamed music is fairly flat, owing to the current bandwidth limitations of the Bluetooth standard. Nevertheless, with automatic pairing and discrete styling, it's a good way to bring your sturdy hi-fi into the 21st century.
Pricing and availability to be confirmed
LG 5000 series HDTV
LG's recently launched 5000 series demonstrates that you will not have to remortgage your property (good luck!) to own a high-end HDTV with fashionista styling. We were given the 42in model to test. With its slim profile, black high-gloss finish and invisible speaker system, the LG 5010 has a clean, high-quality look with performance to match with 1080p as standard on all the sets except the 32in model. It also features a sensor that automatically adjusts the picture in relation to the ambient lighting conditions, and an expert mode for custom picture calibration. Other features include 15,000:1 contrast ratio, three HDMI 1.3 connections, voice technology that enhances dialogue when background noise swells, and LG's proprietary SimpLink connectivity to control other LG SimpLink compatible equipment.
Gear4 bass station
For the budget conscious, this is the iPod boom box to opt for with forgivable failings when you consider the low price. It is a chunky piece of plastic housing two speakers and a subwoofer pounding out an impressive 35W of bass. But at this price you're not going to get much else - despite the inclusion of treble controls on the remote. Also, we were a little disappointed that, even though it is a relative new product, the remote operation cannot control the interface of the iPod Touch or the iPhone. But in the teenage bedroom market that the Bass Station is clearly aimed at, it is more likely to be used with a Nano and other older iPod models, which will work perfectly well.