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Portable Storage Review: Sony's Top Hard Drive

Speaking of external hard drives, Sony's Giga Vault ($240) recently earned PC World's Best Buy distinction. The portable hard drive balances performance, features, and support; and it can run on battery power. See November's Top 10 External Hard Drives chart for more top-rated drives.

Notebook First Look: OQO's Handheld PC

OQO's concept is hot: a handheld, full-featured Windows XP Professional computer. But the actual device left PC World's Tom Mainelli rather cold.

The long-awaited OQO Model 01 Ultra Personal Computer is an XP-based computer with 256MB of memory, a 20GB hard drive, integrated 802.11b Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, and a 5-inch touch-sensitive color screen with 800-by-480-pixel resolution. And it all fits into a 14-ounce handheld package. But poor CPU performance, frustrating keyboard typing, and lackluster battery performance are the price you pay--along with $1999--for such compactness.

PDA News: Dell's Latest Pocket PCs

Dell's new $599 Axim X50v offers a 3.7-inch VGA display at 640 by 480 pixel resolution. That's 0.2 inches larger than other Axim models, such as the new $434 Axim X50 (which has 320 by 240 resolution).

By comparison, PalmOne's new Tungsten T5 and older Tungsten T3 models offer 320-by-480 displays that are approximately 3.8 inches in size.

Dell says its new X50v provides a bigger window on office documents and Web pages, along with an enhanced experience for enjoying downloaded multimedia content. Both the X50v and X50 support Windows Media Player 10 Mobile, which lets you watch downloaded TV and movies, and both devices have headset connections that support Voice over Internet Protocol. For more details on both PDAs, go to Dell's Web site.

Wi-Fi News: T-Mobile Secures Its Hotspots

Do you ever wonder how safe your data is when you're surfing on a Wi-Fi network at Starbucks? T-Mobile, which operates hotspots at Starbucks, Borders, and other locations, recently announced the nationwide deployment of 802.1X authentication. This security step is designed to add an extra layer of security at T-Mobile hotspots, the company says. To take advantage of the authentication, you must download and install the T-Mobile Connection Manager version 1.5. For more info, go to T-Mobile's site.

Hands On: Portable Notebook Speakers

Altec Lansing, the maker of InMotion, that ultra-cool Apple IPod speaker set/charging cradle, recently began shipping the XT1 Portable Notebook Speaker System ($130). The tall and slender slate-gray speakers are powered by a notebook's USB port, come with their own hard-shell carrying case, and weigh 1.5 pounds, including the case. They're ideal for travelers who don't care much for their notebook speakers. In my informal tests, the sound quality was quite good, if a tad thin. However, high volumes didn't create distortion--a common problem with small speakers, in my experience. For more details, go to Altec Lansing's site.

Digital Camera Tip: Make Directions a Snap

In response to my recent feature on using a digital camera at work, I received an e-mail full of tips from Craig Given, a systems analyst in Chattanooga.

Craig often leads an IT team working on large, off-site projects. Since he's usually the first to visit a new project site, he takes his digital camera with him, snapping pictures of "tricky intersections," nearby restaurants and stores, and so on. When he's back at the office, he shares his images with others, so they'll have an easier time finding their way to the job site and knowing what's nearby.

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