Windows 8 without a touch screen... well, kinda sucks, to put it bluntly. Windows 8 with a touch screen is more enjoyable, but what if you're not ready to toss a notebook or desktop that's only one or two years old?
If you yearn to install modern Windows on a legacy, non-touch PC, the answer is the Logitech Wireless Rechargeable Touchpad T650, a large, ultra-smooth glass touch-surface that supports Windows 8 gestures and provides adequate space for your fingers to roam.
You can perform the basic point, left-click, right-click, and scroll functions anywhere your fingers rest on the touch surface, while also taking advantage of gestures for app switching, app bar and charms bar activation, pinch-to-zoom and three-finger swipe to take you back to the Start Screen.
The device recharges using a USB cable (included) and has up to one month of battery life on a full charge. For operation, you also have to sacrifice a USB port for the micro radio transceiver.
The Logitech Wireless Rechargeable Touchpad T650 has a suggested retail price of $79.99. For more information please visit Logitech.com. [ Setup Guide ]
High-end point-and-shoots thrive, as low-end market erodes
Low-end point-and-shoot digital cameras are vanishing. Smart phones have taken their place, even though the best smart phones lack zoom lenses. Only a few smart phones provide creative controls on par with even the least expensive point-and-shoot camera.
Nevertheless, to stay in the game, camera manufacturers are now concentrating on higher-end models, which appeal to serious photographers and those who demand unsurpassed image quality and a wider array of features.
The population of consumers who would actually consider buying the Nikon COOLPIX A is small, given its price tag, but that doesn't matter. The "A" is a street camera for a professional -- a photojournalist or photo essayist who "gets" what this camera is all about.
The device, you see, has a large DX-format CMOS sensor borrowed from one of Nikon's D-SLR models. If you know anything about image sensors, you know size matters, and the COOLPIX A has a big one. This translates to top quality images that can be enlarged to show the smallest detail.
The camera is also equipped with a prime lens, rather than a zoom, which is somewhat unusual. The 18.5mm, f/2.8 (equivalent to a 28mm angle of view in 35mm format) fixed focal length NIKKOR lens is designed to work superbly with the camera's 16.2-million pixel CMOS sensor. The results are spectacular!
The COOLPIX A measures approximately 4.4 inches wide, 2.5 inches high, 1.6 inches deep, and weighs approximately 10.5 ounces. Despite its compact size, it is fully capable of delivering the same image quality, rich tone expression, and color reproduction as a digital SLR. The body's lack of an optical low-pass filter further corroborates that this camera caters to pros, not snapshot photographers.
In addition its ability to record 14-bit compressed RAW images, the COOLPIX A is equipped with a manual focus ring that can be used to achieve stunning effects. It can also record 1920 x 1080/30p full-HD movies.
The camera's metallic look and feel is also impressive, particularly the durable magnesium alloy has been adopted for the top cover.
Optional accessories include the Optical Viewfinder DF-CP1, the Adapter Ring UR-E24, which enables attachment of lens hoods and filters, and the metal Lens Hood HN-CP18, which restricts light passing through the lens without negatively influencing images and also helps to protect the surface of the lens.
The camera is also compatible with Nikon Speedlights, the GPS Unit GP-1, which enables recording of information such as locating latitude, longitude, altitude, and date and time with image data, and the Wireless Mobile Adapter WU-1a, which can be used to easily share still images and movies recorded with the camera with a smart device (all accessories available separately).
The Nikon COOLPIX A is available in Black or Silver. The street price is around $1,100. For more information, visit NikonUSA.com.
Updated COOLPIX ideal for vacationers
The Nikon COOLPIX P330 is a great example of a high-performance, compact digital camera at a reasonable price. For many, the P330 is the perfect vacation camera.
The camera is the successor to Nikon's COOLPIX P310 compact wide-angle zoom camera. The new model, however, has a NIKKOR lens with a maximum aperture of f/1.8 and a 1/1.7-in. backside illumination CMOS sensor for superior image quality.
In addition to support for four (4) exposure modes and the ability to capture RAW images, the P330 is equipped with a vibration reduction (VR) function. It also has GPS that enables recording of location information with images.
In 35mm format equivalents, the camera's 5x optical zoom lens covers from 24 mm wide-angle to 120 mm telephoto. It also supports macro photography as close as 3 cm to the lens.
In addition to still images, you can also record 1080/60i movies with stereo sound simply by pressing the camera's movie-record button.
Movies recorded using the HS Movie function play back in slow motion at 1/4 or 1/2 the normal playback speed, or in fast motion at twice the normal playback speed. In addition, the P330 offers a movie pause function, which allows the recording of a single movie file to be paused and then restarted (within 5 min.).
As mentioned above, positional information acquired via GPS can be recorded with still images and movies. The P330 also offers a log function that records movement over a specified interval even when the camera is not in use or is turned off, allowing you to preserve a record of your vacation movements as a file that can be viewed later.
What's more, the P330 is compatible with the optional Wireless Mobile Adapter WU-1a that allows collaboration with smart devices, remote camera operation, and the transferring of images.
The Nikon COOLPIX P330 is available in Black or White. The street price is around $375. For more information, visit NikonUSA.com.