Gaming Accessory to Buy
Product Model: Logitech G27 Racing Wheel
Ahh, the humble driving game. As I sit here and reflect back 20 years to when I was enjoying my fix for high speed cars on my much loved Commodore Amiga, I remember the good ole' digital joystick which when moved forward 1mm or 5cms, just gave you full throttle.
Jump forward to the present and you find yourself with full wheel setups consisting of gated shifters, clutch pedals and 900c turning wheels. The king of the mountain that boasts all of these attributes (and then some) would have to be the Logitech G27. Its predecessor, the G25, was similarly as impressive, where the G27 uses smoother and quieter helical gearing, a quieter H-pattern six speed shifter and a few other minor niceties like the wheel-mounted LED RPM/Shift Lights and additional fully programmable wheel buttons.
If you're after a really good wheel to get down and dirty with this Christmas in your favorite racing game, be it Need For Speed or GT5, the G27 with its PC and PS3 support is a great option.
I have no problems recommending it for one simple reason - I couldn't resist and bought one myself. Christmas was just too far away.
Pssst; you don't have to wait for XMAS either - I won't tell anyone!
Portable Blu-ray Reader
With the increasing rate of adoption Blu-ray has seen in the past year alone and the amount of people with high definition flat panel plasmas/LCDs in their homes, not to mention how many people's setups include a dedicated Home Theater PC in their lounge, few could argue the convenience of having a portable Blu-ray reader on hand.
External Blu-ray readers carry an even higher importance now than in the past, with many folks connecting their laptops to their HT setups via HDMI and many laptops not even including a ROM drive for compacting reasons. A decent portable Blu-ray reader gives the ultimate in convenience, allowing you to simply connect up via USB and throw in a BR for quick and easy playback.
With the above said and done, we recently looked at a nice little unit from Plextor which is a ripper thanks to its USB 2.0 only connectivity, meaning the hassle of having to run a second cord for its power source is done away with here. Dubbed the PX-8120U, this unit connects to a standard USB 2.0 port (more than fast enough for smooth, effortless Blu-ray playback), and provides up to 4x BD read and 8x DVD read rates.
Another strong selling point of this model is its pleasing aesthetics that will fit right at home in any environment and also its top loading mechanism that does away with the standard pop-out design. This is a big plus if you are dealing with a smaller area of a available space around the unit, not having to make sure there's a need for that extra CD length space for the tray to pop out.
100 bucks for this unit is well justified when you consider it from a sheer convenience point of view. You may have a HTPC in your lounge that's yet to get the BD-ROM treatment. If you buy this unit you're not only giving yourself the ability to easily give your HTPC Blu-ray playback capability, but also an option for watching some high-def goodness on the go when taking your lappy out and about.