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article imageEssential Digital Gear: Printers, cameras, iPads and more Special

By David Silverberg     Oct 8, 2010 in Technology
In this edition of Essential Digital Gear, we review some of the hottest technology to hit store shelves, including the Flip MinoHD, the 16GB iPad with Wi-Fi, a new Brother printer and other must-have gadgets.
DigitalJournal.com is often known for its technology expertise, and now we're introducing a regular feature called Essential Digital Gear. In this article, you'll get the straight talk on each piece of technology reviewed, including retail price range (in US dollars). We'll detail the specs and let you know why these devices have caught our eye.
16GB iPad with Wi-Fi
Price: $499 - $549
Apple's iPad is enjoying rave reviews thanks to its ease of use, the crisp screen and the many apps available for download. Its sales are exploding; Apple is poised to move an estimated 45 million iPads in 2011.
The Wi-Fi only version gives users an opportunity to escape the 3G shackles of their telecom providers, which might appeal to iPad fans frustrated with outages and dead zones. Wi-Fi hotspots continue to dot the world, and outlets such as Starbucks can let you retrieve email, store photos and play games on an iPad free (just as long as you shell for a pricey cappuccino).
The vibrant resolution offers a stunning window into media such as videos, photos, games and e-books. The OS is simple to use and intuitive, as we've come to expect from Apple. Just don't treat this portable device as you would a smartphone -- if you walk around without an iPad bag or case, you'll be tempting fate (or the laws of gravity).
Canon PowerShot S95 Digital Camera
Price: $399 - $499
A successor to S90, the PowerShot S95 includes a new feature to capture 720p HD video and includes Canon's "Hybrid IS" system for capturing various types of movements. Its 10 megapixel CCD sensor and powerful processor produces even better photos in low-light situations than the S90. After taking a few pics with the S95, we noticed very little noise and we liked the compact size of the unit. Some photographers don't want to carry around a bulky DSLR for every shoot. The S95 isn't hard on the eyes, too. A slim sleek design, it's among the smallest and lightest of Canon's PowerShot line.
Nothing like recording HD video with stereo sound -- if you're at a concert and want to catch that spontaneous encore, imagine how convenient it would be to catch quality video. But be warned, its battery life isn't too impressive and HD recording can sap up battery life double-quick.
The High Dynamic Range feature (HDR) can capture of details in highlights and lowlights. In this mode the S95 takes three different exposures of the same scene and can combine them together to create a single image in-camera. We recommend using a tripod if you shoot in HDR to ensure a great photo.
Canon s PowerShot s95
Canon's PowerShot s95
Canon
Brother HL-3070cw color LED printer
Price: $179 - $189
Remember printers? They're still around, and Brother specializes in creating workhouse beasts. The HL-3070CW is a fast wireless network-ready digital colour printer, spewing 17 pages per minute. Text quality is crisp, and it also prints vibrant color pictures for the shutterbugs out there. A fantastic bonus is Wi-Fi connectivity for those who share documents over a network.
The HL-3070CW prints PDF and JPEG files directly from USB flash memory or PictBridge-enabled digital camera without connecting to your PC. The printer is very easy to set-up with user-friendly software and it has flexible 250-sheet paper input capacity with 250-sheet letter/legal paper tray and a one-sheet manual feed slot.
It comes with four toner cartridges, and replacement units cost between $40 and $80, depending where you pick them up.
Brother wireless printer HL-3070CW
Brother wireless printer HL-3070CW
Courtesy Brother
Cisco Valet Plus
Price: $99 - $150
Cisco says its Valet Plus technology is "home wireless made easy." It might be PR boilerplate but it's not far from the truth. This wireless router lets you set up home networks without too much hassle, running at a band of 2.4GHz. You can seamlessly link computers, games and gadgets to the Web, and you don't need the Geek Squad to help you. Traditional routers can be complicated to set up, but not Valet Plus, thanks to a nifty USB stick that does it all for you.
Parents should enjoy this wireless suite because of the full parental controls available on Plus. Mom and Dad can tweak settings so, for example, their teens can't be on Facebook past 9 p.m. on weeknights. Of course, kids might not be a fan of Valet Plus!
Cisco s Valet Plus router
Cisco's Valet Plus router
Courtesy Cisco
The Flip MinoHD camcorder
Price: $229 - 240
The Flip line of mini-camcorders is one of the most successful tech products in recent years, thanks to its compact size and ease of use. The MinoHD continues to impress with 8GB of memory that can record up to 120 minutes of HD video. For anyone who wouldn't call themselves "tech savvy" the Flip camcorder is so simple to use, it's astounding: just plug the gadget into your PC via a USB port and the preloaded software automatically pops up. We especially like the image stabilization feature, ensuring you produce incredibly clear and steady HD videos.
A bonus for the MinoHD is the ability to customize the design at no extra cost. Companies can cover the camcorder in corporate logos or sports fan can cloak it in team colours. Or Digital Journalists can show their pride with a customized DigitalJournal.com design (highly recommended).
Cisco s FlipMinoHD mini camcorder
Cisco's FlipMinoHD mini camcorder
Courtesy Flip
Scosche beefKASE g4 Polycarbonate Case for iPhone 4
Price: $29
If you have an iPhone 4, you're likely going to get a case. No one wants to bruise their prized possession after a clumsy mishap. But too many cheap plastic and silicone cases are flooding the market so it can be difficult to choose the right cloak for your smartphone. The beefKASE G4 case is made out of genuine leather and offers a bit of class and sturdiness to the iPhone 4. The polycarbonate shell protects the phone from minor falls, and won't hurt the bank account. Leave that to your long-distance calls.
The beefKASE g4 Polycarbonate Case with Genuine Leather Exterior for the iPhone 4
The beefKASE g4 Polycarbonate Case with Genuine Leather Exterior for the iPhone 4
Courtesy beefKASE
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