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What to buy and what not to

In this series we review recently launched products and services to help you sort the best buys from those that do not offer value for money.

Print Edition: July, 2010

Product: Sony Blu-ray player BDP S370
Price: Rs 9,990

Good Deal
Sony's entry-level Blu-ray player packs a punch for its price. It can convert standard definition to 1,080p high definition. It has an Ethernet port to access the Internet so that you can stream videos from Websites such as YouTube. It can also decode the higher audio formats, such as Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio.

Product: Datawind UbiSurfer
Price: Rs 7,999

Good deal
If you want an ultra-portable device only to surf the Net, a perfect pick could be the UbiSurfer. At a price that is low even by mobile phone standards, you get a 7-inch display, 128 MB RAM, 1 GB flash memory and 50 GB of online storage. You can opt for the Linux or Windows CE OS. It has an embedded modem and comes with 30 hours of free Internet usage per month for the first year and an optional plan of unlimited access for Rs 99 a month.

Product: Logitech G13 Advanced Gameboard
Price: Rs 4,245

Good deal
Gamers no longer need to be saddled with unwieldy keyboards and superfluous keys. The Logitech Gameboard now offers action nirvana with three game modes, 25 programmable keys and a programmable analog stick, with which you can play games in 87 ways. The LCD panel displays statistics for each game, system information and RSS feeds, while the contoured design allows you to rest your wrist comfortably. You can store game profiles in the unit itself and take your profiles to another computer simply by plugging in.

Product: Seagate FreeAgent Theatre+
Price: Rs 9,500

Good deal
DVDs may soon be passe, with people preferring to store their music and movies on portable hard drives or laptops. However, playing them on regular DVD players can be trying. This is where the FreeAgent Theatre+ comes in. It can play directly using the hard drive and also has an HDMI and two USB ports to connect to your laptop and camera, or to access the Net. It can work with a Wi-Fi adapter, but you'll need to shell out Rs 2,500 more for it. The Theatre+ supports almost all video, audio and picture formats.

...And what not to

Product: Spice S-1200
Price: Rs 14,500

Bad deal
Why do you buy a camera phone? To click photos and mail them or upload to the Net, for which a low megapixel count suffices. Go for more megapixels only if you want large prints. This is the reason S-1200's 12 MP camera is such a waste. Though it has more features than its peers—3x optical zoom, 9x digital zoom, Xenon flash light and shooting modes—it's wiser to buy a featurerich digital camera, which offers greater manual control. As for phone capabilities, better options are available at half the price.

Product: HP Pavilion All-in-one PC MS214
Price: Rs 36,990

Bad deal
There's nothing quite wrong with this product except for its price. The first all-in-one PC from HP has good features—18.5-inch screen, dual core AMD Athlon X2 processor, 2 GB RAM and 320 GB HDD. However, when compared with rivals, such as the Lenovo IdeaCenter A600, it falls short. For the same price, the A600 gives a faster, 2 GHz processor, 21.5-inch full HD screen and a 500 GB HDD.

Product: Creative Vado HD (3rd Generation)
Price: Rs 14,999

Bad deal
If you're prone to recording every your life and putting it up on YouTube, pocket camcorder is just what you Creative is wooing click-happy people the third generation of its Vado it loses out to its peers, noticeably to the Kodak Zi8. The Vado is about Rs 5,000 more expensive than the Zi8 and offers 720p recording against the 1,080p that its competitor provides. Though the Vado tries to justify the extra price by providing low-light capture, wide-angle lens and a headphone jack, it would have been better if it had also provided an expansion slot along with its 4 GB memory.

Product: Viewsonic Fuhzion VX2265 Monitor
Price: Rs 35,999

Bad deal
For a plain, 22-inch monitor, the price of the Fuhzion is too high, especially as it has only a DVI input (no HDMI or VGA connection) and the screen can't be adjusted or rotated. Its promise on 3D compatibility is tempting, but be prepared to spend an extra Rs 18,000 to get the nVIDIA 3D kit. There's also the problem of backlight bleeding while watching movies, resulting in drab colours and shallow blacks.

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