Western Digital My Book Live

Western Digital’s My Book Live is the latest iteration of the company’s consumer line of network-attached storage devices. Unlike most professional-grade devices, the My Book Live isn’t a port-laden behemoth with swappable drives and an imposing drive interface, but a simple way for the average person to share and stream media over an open network. Also, it’s budget priced for that same consumer—$260 for 3TB of storage, $210 for 2TB of storage, and $170 for 1TB or storage.

While WD says that the My Book Live is capable of data transfer speeds up to 10MBps, our actual lab tests generated much more believable numbers: 42MBps writing a 2GB zip file, and 48MBps reading the same file. With an unzipped 2GB file, those speeds slow down to 30MBps and 28MBps respectively. Still, that’s not too shabby compared to other NAS devices.

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Dell V313w

Dell's V313w color inkjet multifunction printer is priced at a mere $100, and it seems to receive regular discounting on Dell's Website. But while it looks like a good deal (especially in view of its integrated wireless functionality) it's ultimately a mediocre product overall, with expensive inks.

The V313w's few nice features are tacked onto an otherwise unremarkable machine. The Wi-Fi works fine, and the front of the unit includes both a USB port and a card reader for MMC, MS, SD, and xD media. Though the control panel is easy to use, the buttons are inexplicably small, given the vast amount of space available. The panel tilts upward for easier viewing, but you have to bend the underbody of the panel to retract it.

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Dell 1355cnw color MFP

Dell 1355cnw color multifunction printer
The Dell 1355cnw color multifunction printer will appeal to small offices, as it combines print, copy, scan, and fax capabilities in an inexpensive  package. It has wireless networking for good measure. Using an LED array to create images rather than the more widely known laser technology, it produces good output, too. As is the case with many low-cost MFPs, unfortunately, replacement toner is expensive, and features are somewhat limited.

Setting up the 1355cnw was easy via USB and ethernet. Wireless setup requires attaching the unit via USB, which is not unusual, but its handling of IP addresses made us pause. The 1355cnw supports both the current IP address standard (IPv4) and the upcoming IPv6. However, on Windows, instead of creating one printer device with both and IPv6 and IPv4 addresses, the install created two printer devices: one with an IPv6 address, and another with an IPv4 address. We knew what to do (eliminate the IPv6 dual-stack option), but most users will need more help than the documentation provides.

The control panel is straightforward for a multifunction device, with a numeric keypad and buttons to summon each primary function. The four-line monochrome LCD lets you view menu options, which you navigate using standard four-way controls.

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Lab Report: iPad 2 battery life tests and GarageBand speed

Apple contends its newly released iPad 2 improves upon the performance of its original tablet—a claim Macworld’s iPad 2 review backed up. And continued testing of the new tablet by Macworld Lab further illustrates how its new dual-core A5 processor and faster graphics subsystem affect the iPad 2’s battery life. The results are good news for iPad 2 owners.

Battery life

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HP LaserJet Pro CM1415fnw

HP LaserJet Pro CM1415fnw color multifunction printer
The HP LaserJet Pro CM1415fnw MFP seems to offer a lot for its low $450 price: full color laser multifunction capabilities (print/copy/fax/scan), wireless networking, Web apps, and HP's ePrint print-by-e-mail service. Small offices and businesses considering this printer, however, should also note what it lacks: speed and economy. It's one of the slowest models we've tested recently, and its toner is very pricey. In addition, it offers no automatic duplexing, which makes saving on paper costs harder.

In our tests, the LaserJet Pro CM1415fnw was disappointingly slow. It has a habit of calibrating or initializing for minutes on end when all you want it to do is print. On plain black text, the easiest kind of printing, it worked at a sluggish rate of 7.3 pages per minute on the Mac and 7.4 ppm on Windows. Snapshot-size photos printed on letter-size paper averaged a subpar 1.7 ppm on the PC platform, while a full-page, high-resolution photo printed on the Mac took almost 80 seconds (0.8 ppm) to print. Scans and copies were similarly poky.

The quality of the output offers some consolation. Text looks clean and precise. HP touts its ImageREt 3600 technology for images, and it seems to work, to an extent. Viewed from normal distance, the photos looked rich, though a bit dark. Upon closer inspection, fine horizontal banding spoiled some of the effect, and some of the contours in faces were hard to discern. Scanning was a mixed bag: Plain monochrome copies looked good, but a color copy seemed overly bright and somewhat uneven. Color scans from the Mac appeared richer than those from the PC, but on both platforms monochrome scans showed jagged lines and loss of fine detail.

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Xerox Phaser 6010

Xerox Phaser 6010 color laser printer
If you want a personal or small-office color laser printer that performs well, is easy to use, and won't take up much space, the $299 Xerox Phaser 6010 certainly belongs on your short list. If you want something that's affordable in the long term, however, look elsewhere: Toner costs for the Phaser 6010, especially its colors, are the highest we've seen in a while. Users who print fairly little might feel the pinch less keenly.

The Phaser 6010 is compact and simple to use. Even its printing technology is simple: A stationary LED array, rather than a moving laser, creates the images. Paper handling consists of a 150-sheet front input (really a foldout door with width and length guides), a ten-sheet manual feed tray directly above it, and a 100-sheet top output tray. Duplexing (two-sided printing) is, unfortunately, only manual on the PC, and it isn't available on the Mac at all. A side panel opens to reveal the four keyed toner supplies. USB and ethernet connections are available.

The control panel is straightforward, consisting of a two-line, 16-character monochrome LCD, a four-way cursor, and the usual buttons. It's logical and neatly laid out, and the menus are easy to navigate. The HTML configuration pages that offer another way to view printer status and settings are equally simple to use.

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Xerox Phaser 6500DN

Xerox's Phaser 6500DN color laser printer for small and medium-size workgroups carries a temptingly low price of $499. But given the volume of output that such users are likely to generate, it's unfortunate that the Phaser 6500DN's replacement toner costs are so dear.

The Phaser 6500DN provides the usual workgroup-level features: USB and ethernet connectivity; a 250-sheet main input tray and integrated manual-feed slot; and a top, 150-sheet output tray. An additional, 250-sheet input tray costs $199 from Xerox. Duplexing (two-sided printing) is standard, but Mac users must enable it manually. The Phaser 6500, a lower-cost model without duplexing, costs $399.

In our tests, the Phaser 6500DN delivered midrange speeds overall. Mac performance was slower than average: 13.1 ppm when printing plain text; 2.7 ppm when printing a document with mixed text and graphics; and a sluggish 0.4 ppm when printing a high-resolution, full-page color photo. On Windows, the performance improved; it produced 14.8 pages per minute of plain text, and 1.8 ppm of snapshot-size color photos on letter-size paper.

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