November 20, 2002 3:24 PM PST

Comdex: 'Tis the season for bargains



The Comdex Fall 2002 show floor turns up some good deals. Day three of the conference has editors from CNET Reviews and Computer Shopper hunting for cool devices that won't empty your bank account.

The digital dozen for bargain hunters
Betting that bargain hunters will rule the shopping season, Norcent Technology unvelied a dozen products that emphasize affordability.

The new models include digital cameras, an all-in-one desktop PC, slim-design notebooks, liquid crystal displays and plasma monitors, a DVD+RW drive and an ultralight projector.

Norcent, a newcomer to the U.S. market, is a California-based company with Chinese backing. Among the company's digital camera offerings is a $399 model with an interpolated resolution of 6 megapixels. The camera also packs a 3x digital zoom, a self-timer, and a movie mode; it ships with a 16MB CompactFlash card.

Two other digicams deliver photos in resolutions of 1.92 megapixels (interpolated) and 1.3 megapixels.

Norcent also took the wraps off an all-in-one desktop that's powered by a 2.4GHz Pentium 4 processor and 512MB of DDR (double data rate) memory. Additional features include a 17-inch XGA flat-panel monitor, a 60GB hard drive, a DVD/CD-RW combo drive, built-in speakers, and a wireless keyboard and mouse.

Other computing devices include two slim-design notebooks, one with a 15-inch display and the other with a 16-inch screen. Norcent also exhibited several new flat-panel displays, including 15-inch and 17-inch wall-mountable LCD monitors available in pearl gray or black and silver, and a 46-inch plasma monitor in your choice of WVGA or WXGA resolutions.

The company's new 3.4-pound DLP projector offers a rated brightness of 1,100 ANSI lumens and a contrast ratio of 600-to-1. Norcent also debuted an external DVD+R/RW drive that connects via USB 2.0.
--Nancy Lang

Photo addition to digital diction
Olympus America has added a new dimension to its line of digital voice recorders with the $99 W-10. Olympus In addition to 3 hours of voice-recording capabilities, the new W-10 also features an integrated camera.

Capable only of resolutions up to 640-by-480 pixels, the camera is not for the Ansel Adamses of the world, but its slick design and low cost will appeal to those wanting to visually document their notes or simply connect a face with a voice.

With 16MB of built-in flash memory, users can store up to 3 hours of diction, 250 images, or a combination of both. The included Voice Album software has a number of useful features, including a Voice Indexing capability that enables you to connect images to specific points in conversation. For instance, a user surveying a room can take a picture and attach a sound bite to that image for visual recall. Images are stored in JPEG format, and the device uses standard AAA alkaline batteries.
--William Flanagan
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