Buying Gaming Consoles and Equipment and Portable Media - The Top 10 in April 2010

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With so many options available to gaming and music enthusiasts, we thought it helpful to briefly review the Top 10 gaming and portable music devices currently on the market.


1. Playstation 3 Slim:
Sony made a bold move when they reduced the price on the PS3 Slim. Now you get a slim gaming console with built in Wi-Fi and a 120 GB hard drive for less. The PS3 Slim also gives HDMI output with 1080p support, free online gaming service, a built in web browser and no external power supply requirement. Oh yes, and you can play games on it. And it doubles as a Blu-ray and DVD player, all in high definition. Just a couple of gripes – no infrared port rules out the use of non-Bluetooth universal remotes and the online services could be better.

2. Microsoft Xbox 360 Elite:
Microsoft offers many exclusive games in the excellent selection available, with many of the original Xbox games playable on the Elite. The Elite offers high quality online services and the user-friendly interface offers support for wireless interfaces and controllers. The DVD drive is still noisy and the external power supply is enormous.

3. Nintendo DSi:
The DSi is the third generation of the DS series and adds 2 small-resolution cameras to the slightly larger portable screens. However the Game Boy Advance slot has disappeared. You enjoy exclusive access to the DSi shop for applications and games.

4. Sony PSP 3000:
Good colour reproduction from the screen and an improved ability to playback video and games on TV. In built microphone and Skype. The PSP 3000 has a great range of games with graphics superior to the Nintendo DS range.

5. Nintendo Wii:
A revolutionary device that offers motion sensitive game controllers and built in Wi-Fi to give free online games and services. However, the graphics might be a little disappointing and the controller's batteries need to be replaced fairly regularly.

6. Logitech Wireless Drum Controller:
For the aspiring muso, the Logitech takes a while to set up, with many horizontal and vertical adjustments for each drum pad. However, once set up, it will take a great deal of punishment. The device connects remotely with either the Playstation 3 or Xbox 360 through a supplied USB dongle.

7. The Beatles Rock Band:
Unique among the rock band genre, the Beatles Rock Band has the benefits of being based on real life. You can experience all from the Cavern Club in Liverpool, play in the Abbey Road studios and even Shea Stadium. An amazing blend of music and art!

8. Wii Fit:
Designed to put the fun back into exercising, the Wii Fit offers a unique balance board that detects changes in weight and pressure as you move on it. It connects wirelessly to the Wii console. A good selection of exercises, but the calculation of fitness indicators could be a problem for some users.

9. Razer Mamba:
An expensive PC gaming mouse that offers terrific precision. It can be connected directly to your PC with the USB cable or used cable-free. It has an internal memory that lets you save your profile and take it with you.

10. Wii Motion Plus:
An accessory to the Wii remote that extends the use of the remote. The Motion Plus attaches with 2 small prongs and is held securely in place by the rear lock switch. The device gives a more accurate representation of your movements on the screen.

Portable Media:

1. Apple iPod Touch:
This is the top of the line third generation of digital media players, with 64 GB of flash memory installed. The iPod Touch has voice control, web browser and email support. The 3.5 inch, 480 x 320 pixel resolution touch screen provides a good user interface, but in addition the device has a volume control, a hold switch and a home button to complement the touch screen.

2. Apple iPod Nano 5G:
The Fifth generation iPod Nano has a wide range of goodies, including a video camera, FM radio, voice recording and an inbuilt loudspeaker. The 2.2-inch screen is not the world’s largest, but it is larger than the original. The device even boasts a pedometer.

3. Sony NWZ-B142F:
Measuring just 86mm x 23.6mm x 14.5mm, the Sony NWZ-B142F is quite small and has just a 3 line display screen for track information and navigation. It connects to a PC via an inbuilt USB plug, allowing file transfers and battery charging.

4. Sony X-Series:
Although the X-Series Walkman is expensive, it does have a wide range of features, including an FM radio, integrated YouTube support, noise cancelling software and Wi-Fi. The headphones supplied are better than average quality and deliver surround sound in good definition.

5. Apple iPod Shuffle:
The iPod Shuffle is the smallest available - about the size of a paper clip, so make sure you remember where you put it, as it’s easily misplaced. But it delivers good quality sound through the headphones. Because of the small size, the iPod Shuffle has control buttons built into the cable just below the right earpiece.

6. Sony NWZ-202:
A headphone style Walkman that gets rid of messy headphone cords and delivers impressive sound quality.  The device supports a range of audio formats and has a quick charge facility that gives 90 minutes playback in just 3 minutes.

7. Archos 5 Internet Tablet:
A portable media centre that advertises a wide range of features, including Flash video, Wi-Fi, GPS, Bluetooth, email, a web browser and an inbuilt loudspeaker. But beware – the GPS function has limited signal reception and the Flash video support is very touchy.

8. Creative Zen X-Fi 2:
The Zen X-Fi 2 uses a touch screen interface that is a vast improvement over the cumbersome buttons of previous models. Battery life has also been improved, allowing for 24 hours of music playback or 5 hours of video on each charge.

9. Apple iPod Classic:
The latest version of the iconic MP3 player, the Classic can be obtained with 80 GB or 160 GB capacity. The maximum resolution is 640 x 480 pixels at a rate of up to 30 frames per second. The main menu is unusual, featuring a split screen, enabling music selections by cover artwork.

10. Microsoft Zune HD:
The Zune HD features a terrific display, a radio tuner, long battery life and access to movie rentals and music subscriptions that make it a viable alternative to Apple’s iPod. The Zune can’t be used with a Mac however, and you’ll need “Microsoft Points” for marketplace purchases.

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