Prestigio MultiPad 9.7 PRO Tablet PC

3366985Tablet PC’s are all the rage nowadays, compact and convenient, the tablet PC has fast become the device of choice whether you’re using it for business purposes or recreation.  Though not in the same class as mobile PC’s, and sometimes even referred to as ‘underpowered laptops’, tablet PC’s are lightweight tools ideal for books, comics, movies, internet and music, and serve as the perfect media companion when traveling.  These devices are everywhere, and this can be confirmed by strolling through your local mall where you would undoubtedly see people (usually in coffee shops) reading the news while they sip their coffee or groups of people gathered at one table as some work-related slide show or spreadsheet is being displayed.  The real problem with tablet PC’s of course, is picking the right one…

So who are Prestigio and are they any good? Well, while not as renown as Samsung or Apple – the two largest players in the tablet PC world with the Galaxy Tab and iPad respectively, Prestigio is a relatively new brand, only been on the market for a decade and are based in Cyprus, with a business model offering luxury, state-of-the-art technologies aimed at competing with the high-end market.  Prestigio is a fast-growing and well-established international brand sold in 63 countries and is increasingly ranked among the most regarded brands in emerging markets across the EMEA (Europe, Middle-East & Africa) region.

So let’s get down to brass tacks.  Prestigio offers a wide range of tablet PC’s designed to suit the specific needs of consumers, my model of choice was the MultiPad 9.7 PRO as it is the nearest equivalent  to an iPad or Galaxy Tab, retailing for around R2900 (320USD).  The reason I picked this tablet over the aforementioned competitors is because I believe them to be overpriced, and while Samsung’s Galaxy Tab is Android-based, I disdain Apple’s far-less flexible iOS platform and cannot justify purchasing the Apple product when there are literally thousands of free Android apps readily available.

As with all computer-related hardware, specs are important and thankfully the MultiPad 9.7 PRO has a rather impressive array.  The MultiPad 9.7 PRO is preloaded with Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, a very nice, very neat little OS that not only looks great but is easy to utilize and navigate and comes preloaded with a multitude of apps.  Apart from all the free apps available online as well as the aforementioned preinstalled ones, there are also over 300 000 apps available to purchase on Google Market.  At its core, the MultiPad 9.7 PRO runs on an ARM Cortex A8 Rockchip RK218 cpu @1GHz.  It has a 9.7″ display with a 1024×768 resolution and has back-light LED IPS with a capacitive multi-touch screen using G-Sensor rotation.  It has an internal memory size of 8GB, 1GB of installed DDR3 RAM and supports 32GB Micro SD/Micro SDHC.  Apart from the Micro SD/SDHC, other interfaces include – WiFi, Mini HDMI x 1, Mini USB 2.0 x1, and 1 3.5mm mini jack.  Bluetooth and VGA interfaces are not included and it’s worth noting that as there are no phone features, the only internet interface available is WiFi.  A 0.3 megapixel camera is present on the front of the device, one of the MultiPad’s few drawbacks, and supports the following multimedia formats:

  • ebook formats – EPUB, PDF, TXT, FB2
  • Audio formats – APE, AAC, MP3, WAV, OGG, FLAC & stereo audio playback.
  • Image formats – PNG, BMP, JPG, GIF
  • Video formats – AVI, FLV, 3GP, MOV, MVN, MKV, MP4, RM, RMVB, WMV, VOB (DVD), DAT & has full HD playback.

The MultiPad 9.7 PRO uses a lithium-ion polymer battery with a decent capacity of 6000 mAh, approx 4hrs video playback, 36hrs audio playback and has a standby time of 120hrs.  The dimensions and weight of the MultiPad 9.7 PRO are as follows:

  • Width (mm) – 241
  • Height (mm) – 187
  • Depth (mm) – 9.6
  • Weight – 610g

The MultiPad 9.7 PRO is an extremely affordable and high-quality device with its best feature undoubtedly being the display. Images and video are sharp and crisp, and with OpenGL 3D technology, multimedia files (such as HD films) run remarkably smooth, and thanks to the HDMI interface, one can easily connect the tablet to a TV.  Much like the Galaxy Tab and iPad, the MultiPad 9.7 PRO also features a scratch resistant screen as well as a high quality metal housing with rubber grip pads on the backside.  You will find all the buttons and outputs located on the topside of the device.  To top it all off, this device comes with a stylish leather pouch.

Conclusion

The MultiPad 9.7 Pro is a superb device, and if like me you were looking for a tablet specifically for books and comics then you need not look further.  Though some may find the lack of phone features and WiFi-only internet annoying, it doesn’t bother me in the least as I have a laptop and PC to access the net, and even then I can download any app I like and just place it onto the tablet.  The only niggle I have with this device is that the Micro SD  card is almost impossible to remove without tweezers and it’s a little annoying that if the tablet is connected to a PC via USB it renders the SD card inaccessible.  If you intend on using this device for comics, do yourself a favour and download the app – QuickPic, as it renders images faster and is more feature-rich than the default image viewer.  All-in-all, the MultiPad 9.7 PRO is a sleek, cost-effective and high-performance alternative to the iPad and Galaxy Tab.

Grade: A

32-Bit Fixed

A while ago I added a 4th gigabyte of RAM to my system in the hopes of squeezing out a little bit more performance out of my (relatively) dated PC (running Core 2 Duo E8200 CPU), however after checking the system properties I was rather annoyed to see –>> 4.00 GB (3.00 GB usable), meaning that the additional gig was a complete waste as the system was unable to utilize the extra RAM.  The reason for this being a limitation with the 32-bit architecture that the operating system uses.  This brings us to the topic at hand, a solution is needed and given the fact that my CPU uses a 64-bit design the logical conclusion point to rectifying my RAM issue was to upgrade to a 64-bit version of Windows, something that I’ve been very apprehensive about due to the amount of incompatibilities with the majority of software out there, but regardless of that I pressed forward and  upgraded to a 64-bit version of Windows 7 and the result was rather pleasing.

Well the first and most obvious thing after installing the 64-bit operating system was that it now registered all 4 gigs of the RAM and with that came a noticeable performance increase, not only does Windows initialize faster, but games like Skyrim and Need for Speed: The Run were running at a much higher frame rate.  The second thing I noticed is that apart from the typical Program Files folder there was an additional Program Files (x86) directory, which I never anticipated.  This means that any of the old non-64-bit software is automatically allocated to the Program Files (x86) directory negating any compatibility issues.  So I was pretty pleased that I could use all my old software though obviously I did need to download a few new versions of certain applications and drivers such as a 64-bit version of the ATi Catalyst suite and iTunes. In case you were wondering x86 is the designation for an operating system with a 32-bit architecture and x64 (technically x86-64) is that of its 64-bit successor.

After switching to a 64-bit operating system, all 4GB of memory now register.

So apart from being able to support more than 4GB of RAM, a 64-bit architecture also has an added benefit of being more secure, this is because most malware and malicious code is written for 32-bit software, and writing code for 64-bit is a bit more difficult considering that you have to write to address 64 bits (integers) instead of 32 bits. Encryption, in this sense, will be more effective.  So all-in-all, it was definitely worthwhile switching over to a 64-bit operating system, I’m only sorry it took me so long to do so.

Repairing a ‘dynamic invalid drive’ in Windows

Not too long ago I was required to disconnect my SATA hard drive in my PC (for various reasons) with the intention of just plugging it back in after, no big deal…except that it was.  When I plugged it back in, it was not found in the familiar >Computer< section in Windows (I’m running Windows 7 Ultimate) alongside all my other drives.

So then I started to investigate, starting with checking the BIOS settings, sure enough, in the BIOS my SATA drive was indeed detected so naturally the problem would have to be with Windows.  So I check >Device Manager< and there sits my SATA drive but inaccessible.  So, frustration growing, I go to >Disk Management< (Over » Windows 7 Start Button “Start” type in » Perform (Edit-Box) “diskmgmt.msc” [ENTER]).  Once I’m there, much to my annoyance, my 250gig SATA drive is listed as being a dynamic invalid drive and is completely inaccessible.

Disk 0 - Completely unusable.

So Windows then gives you the option to revert the drive to a ‘basic drive’ allowing it to be usable once again except it assumes that you have access to the drive already and that you’re able to back up your data before doing so because once you convert it all your data will be lost. Yes, well done Microsoft, If I could access the drive in the first place there wouldn’t be a problem to begin with now would there?

So then I turned to Google and found a $300 application that was capable of reverting my drive back into a usable state, luckily I obtained it sans having to pay that amount and just as well because it did not fucking work! After an hour or so of forum-reading and whatnot I found a small, 2.82mb Open Source application called Testdisk 6 which not only duplicated my data from the inaccessible drive to an external source, but managed to convert my hard drive back to a ‘basic’ usable one in a few seconds without formatting the drive.  Check out this site for a step-by-step guide on how to achieve this.

Samsung G3 Station External Hard Drive 1TB

With the ever-increasing demand for data storage, high-capacity drives have become more common place with every major hard drive manufacturer having released their own version of the large data capacity drive and at the same time, promising that theirs is the definitive choice and most worthy of your hard-earned cash.

Having been a long-time user of Western Digital and Seagate hard drives I decided to give Samsung a shot as I’m a huge fan of their products.  After seeing what was made available to me I ended up buying a pair 1TB Samsung ‘G3 Station’ external drives and I’m pleased to report that they don’t disappoint.  Inside the box you will find – G3 Station External Drive (of course), an AC adapter (not USB powered I’m afraid but it’s something I had anticipated given the size of the drive), a USB cable and preloaded software (for Windows platform).  Samsung also offers a standard 3 year-limited warranty on the product.

The G3 Station also employs ‘EcoTriangle’ – a green friendly technology resulting in low power consumption, low acoustic noise (it’s the quietest drive I’ve ever heard) and it uses eco-friendly components.  The drive wont start-up without the USB cable plugged in and because it has no power switch the drive will power up and shut off automatically whenever Windows 7 starts up or shuts down.  The G3 Station comes in a 1TB, 1.5TB and 2TB variant and you’re given two colours to choose from – Cobalt Black and Silver White.  The most unique aspect of this drive is the stylish multi-faceted exterior that literally sparkles in the sun (though never enough to annoy), it has a sort of snake-like skin look to it though officially Samsung says; “the case sparkles in the sun, much like sunlight filtering through leaves of a baobab tree swaying in the wind.”  I still reckon it looks like snake-skin…

Sadly, no product is perfect and the G3 Station is no exception.  As stated before, the drive has no power switch and while this doesn’t really bother me, there are plenty of people who will be annoyed by it.  In fact, earlier today I wanted to shut down the drive so usually I’ll do a safe removal in Windows and then pull out the USB cable though this time I couldn’t because – “there may still be programs in use on the drive”, even though there wasn’t and because there was no on/off switch I had to restart Windows in order to ‘free up’ the drive.  Another thing to note is that when the drive is idle, it takes 10 – 15 seconds to spin up when you try to access a file, not a train smash but a little annoying.  Finally, the most annoying thing about the G3 Station (though not really a hardware fault as opposed to a manufacturer one) is Samsung’s choice of formatting the drive with FAT32 instead of NTFS.  It took 16 hours to reformat each drive to NTFS (full format is best because it simultaneously checks for errors and bad sectors) and it’s necessary if you intend on storing files larger than 4 gigs in size.  As there is no software disk bundled with this product, you’d probably want to copy the preloaded software to an external source before formatting the drive.

To conclude, The Samsung G3 Station, is an excellent product perfect for backing up large amounts of data.  Though the USB 2.0 interface does throttle the transfer speed somewhat, this and the few aforementioned annoyances can be overlooked as the pros far outweigh the cons.  A stylish drive that’s cool, quiet and easy to transport, highly recommended purchase.

Price – R999 @ Hard Wired Computers (Cape Town)

Email – hardwiredcomputers.cc@gmail.com

Windows 7

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Just pray you don't need to purchase all that stuff to get Windows 7 to work...

When I first used Windows Vista I was running an entry-level machine (AMD Sempron cpu, Radeon 9250 gpu, 1 gig ram etc) and the OS utterly destroyed my machine.  Not only was my hardware incapable of running Vista effectively, there were also hardware components that weren’t compatible, such as my soundcard and the 1 gig of ram that I had in the PC (that was more than sufficient for Windows XP) struggled to meet the requirements of the resource-hungry software.  Let’s not forget the myriad of software applications that were rendered obsolete due to the fact that backwards compatibility was pretty much an alien concept for Vista.

So after a huge upgrade (dual-core processing, 3 gigs ram, Radeon 4870 gpu etc) I found that I had Vista under control due to the fact that I had overpowered it into submission (hooray!).  I also found that I had an easier time using Vista when I had hardware that was ‘Vista Certified’ although there were still things like the Vista Certified Verbatim 250 gig external hard-drive that would not work on the OS, it worked on XP and Linux Ubuntu, but not Vista.

I know that everyone complained about Vista; resource hungry, poor backwards compatibility, incessantly being harassed by ‘security’ messages and so on but I had the OS installed for 15 months and I seldom experienced any major problems.

So finally after hearing so much about Windows 7, I decided to format my PC and install Microsoft’s latest piece of software to see what all the fuss is about.  Windows 7 has already been called Microsoft’s best operating system since Windows XP, so I decided to judge that for myself.  One of the main things that Windows 7 is supposed to address is the backwards compatibility issue that plagued the previous OS.  Windows 7 is supposed to be XP app friendly and since Win7 is based upon the Vista architecture, it should have no problems running Vista software either. Sadly, that wasn’t the case.

I know that Win7 has only been out officially for 5 days or so but I had a tough time getting everything to work properly on the OS. Win7 seems to be even more hostile towards older applications than Vista and I ended up spending ages online trying to find new software that would actually run on Win7.  Considering that the BETA version and various other versions of Win7 have been available for download, be it official downloads or illegal, you’d think that people would spend time testing the OS before its official release to see if it had any major issues, specially since Microsoft has been making a big deal about how backwards compatible their new baby supposedly is.

Below, I’ve listed some applications that no longer work in Windows 7, forcing me to find alternatives, very frustrating indeed.

  • Daemon tools lite: any version below 4.35 will not work properly and Win7 will pop up with a ‘this product has known software incompatibility issues’ message.  What the fuck Microsoft? The first thing I install and there’s a compatibility issue?!
  • FabDVD Decrpyter 4 & 5:  both of these apps failed to install correctly forcing me to upgrade to version 6, bearing in mind that you have to pay for FabDVD software, as well as the aforementioned Daemon tools.
  • The older version of Comodo firewall wouldn’t initialize so I checked online for firewalls that are supported by Win7, I downloaded a few (freeware of course) and when I tried to install them I was met with more compatibility error messages *sighs*
  • My version of AVG Antivirus had to be upgraded too.
  • My gigabyte motherboard drivers, specifically the RealtekHD drivers, were incompatible, meaning that I had to spend an eternity finding audio drivers that actually worked.

Those are just a few of the apps that no longer work on the OS (I’m using the x86/32bit version btw).  I couldn’t install cccp codec pack because Win7 doesn’t have D3D 9 binaries meaning I had to go to Microsoft’s website and download the damn file before I could install my codec pack.  Speaking of which, MS Media Player Classic cannot effectively play mkv or ogg files that are subtitled (like anime) since it’s unable to display sub-titles, only hard-coded subs (such as those found on avi files) worked.  I’m not sure if it’s the codec pack or what, but DVD video quality is horrendous when using vlc player, mpc or PowerDVD, so I ended up having to use Media Player 12 to watch DVDs.

Through my persistence I persevered and once I had replaced all the old software with apps that were actually compatible I found that Win7 is actually quite intuitive and easy to use, although the new task bar took some getting used to.  Some applications like Windows Movie Maker have been omitted from Win7 (though you are able to download it from Microsoft’s site if you like) and there’s no more resource-chowing sidebar like in Vista, though you are able to attach widgets to your desktop (right-click in explorer >> gadgets).

The Windows firewall has been much improved, however I still don’t trust it and use a third-party alternative (Outpost ftw).  There are now various aero themes to choose from, all of which are accompanied by their own sound schemes and the OS now comes with DirectX11, how that will affect games and 3D apps remains to be seen.  Win7 also uses 10% less ram than its predecessor although if you intend on using the x64/64-bit variant of the OS you’ll need a minimum of 2 gigs ram.  The other problem with the 64-bit version is that there are going to be a lot of old XP apps that simply wont run, so if you installed Win7 with the hopes of playing some old game that wouldn’t work on Vista, make sure you’re using the 32-bit version.

As with every Windows OS installment, Win7 looks very pretty, more so than Vista, it uses a very clean and attractive interface that’s very nice to look at and navigate around.  I’m sure I’ve only scratched the surface of what Win7 has to offer and further investigation will yield new things (be they good or bad), however if you’ve been using Vista hassle-free, I don’t see much benefit to upgrading to Windows 7, it’s just more of the same really, like a reconfigured, more secure version of Vista.  Linux users will probably scoff at the OS since their platform of choice has already been able to do what Win7 is capable of as far as internet security and stability is concerned and MS fan-boys will have a new toy to play with, albeit an expensive one.  So all in all, I wouldn’t say it’s imperative that you upgrade to Win7 at this moment but if curiosity gets the better of you (such as in my case), give Win7 a try.

 

‘Data Capture’

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A question I keep asking myself; What is the best method in which to store data, has plagued me for many years now.  As a rule, I don’t really trust magnetic storage so when I copy data over to my hard drives I see it as a temporary storage solution until I can place the data I want to keep onto DVD-ROM discs.  I like the optical disc method as once the data is placed onto the format it is permanent, free from virus attacks or data loss.  Sadly though, optical discs aren’t immune to data corruption and if they aren’t cared for properly or stored in the correct conditions your discs may cease to function, oftentimes when trying to copy data from a damaged disc, a cyclic redundancy error will be returned.  This usually signals the end of the disc but I would recommend that you try cleaning the disc before chucking it in the bin.

The other problem with optical storage is that many people say that data burned to blank DVDs/CDs, and so on only really lasts for about five years, although Verbatim claim that their discs last up to one hundred years, not like anyone is going to be around to dispute that claim one hundred years from now.

Apart from the various hiccups with optical storage, it is my preferred method of data storage, I have DVDs from 2002 that still work fine so I think it boils down to how well you look after your discs.  Originally I would keep my discs in the supplied jewel cases but as the demand for more data increased, I started buying DVDs by the spindles (usually fifty packs).  So I needed a far more economical way in which to store the discs, currently I probably have around 400 + DVDs so you can imagine how much space all those discs would take up were I to keep them in the CD jewel cases.  I store my discs in DVD pouches (usually the one’s that facilitate 96 discs).

The other thing with disc storage is that eventually we will come out with a new storage format, like Blu-Ray and though it is an extremely expensive way to store your data (currently a 25 gig Blu-Ray disc retails for about R350 in South Africa) in time the prices will come down and in order for my precious data to survive the next decade I will need to transfer all of the media I’ve stored onto the DVDs onto the newer Blu-Ray format, the last thing I need is to have my data trapped onto an obsolete format and not having anyway to retrieve the information.  The average DVD holds about 4.35 gigs of data, by today’s standards, that isn’t a whole lot which is why hard disc drives (HDD) are such attractive storage devices to a user.  Being able to slap in a few Terabyte HDDs into your PC is a far easier solution to having to burn data to disc.  The problem with storing data on that scale is that it’s like placing all your eggs into one basket, if a virus comes along, or if your operating system becomes corrupt (most users use the Windows platform and the registry is quite a volatile thing) you may have to format your PC and thus you’d lose all your data.  Sure you can set up a RAID array and mirror your drive creating a backup but the data is still stored on a HDD and thus it is susceptible to corruption and data loss.  Not to mention that a power surge can damage a HDD quite easily, Western Digital HDD’s used to be my drive of choice but they die too easily when met with sudden power surges or blackouts (in my case, living in Cape Town where load-shedding is a common occurence and the power is cut without warning), I find that Seagate HDD’s are far more resilient.

For me, hard drives are like a stopgap for storage.  I will store data on my drives temporarily and then sort through it, putting aside the stuff I’d like to keep (which will be burned to disc) and deleting the rest to make room for new stuff.  DVD data storage can also become a costly affair, I don’t even want to think about how much money I’ve spent on discs but I want the safest and most reliable method to store my data and in my opinion, the optical disc format is the superior method.

PS3 – Review

The new slim PS3 console, unfortuneatly the two attractive peripherals aren't included.

The new slim PS3 console, unfortunately the two attractive 'peripherals' holding it up aren't included...

After a seven year period of being a PC gamer I finally took the plunge after much deliberation and purchased a PlayStation 3 console.  Not since the PS2 (which I bought way back in 2001) have I owned a console, I had a mod-chip fitted which ended up bricking the machine and from that point on I decided to try out the PC arena.

Well firstly, I went for the new slimmer model of the console, it just seemed like the logical choice since it has a 120Gig HDD and is about R1600 cheaper than the old 80Gig variant.  Even though the new console retails in South Africa for R3800 (510USD) I’m still getting ripped off as the console is sold in the States for $299 (R2225).  Unfortunately the 80Gig models were sold at a loss and in order to make up for that the slim model is sold at a fixed price in SA of R3799 *sighs*.  I wouldn’t recommend importing either as not only will you be raped by import duties and the like, but there’s no guarantee that your purchase will arrive in one piece (or at all, given the state of the SA postal service) and any warranties on the machine will become null and void.

To get the most out of the console you will need an HD TV or HD monitor, in my case I’m using the Samsung T260 26″ Widescreen LCD monitor, as well as an HDMI cable (which I had to purchase separately) and your TV/monitor needs to have an HDMI input.  Setting up the PS3 couldn’t be easier, the only things you need to plug in is the power cable and the HDMI cable after which the machine is ready to go.  The wireless controller is also great (and I generally hate wireless controllers, keyboards and so on) and initially the setup will require you to connect the USB cable (supplied with the console, used to charge the controller) into one of the two USB ports located at the front of the console in order to continue with the setup procedure, which is dead easy too, it’s like the ‘setup wizard’ you find on basically every piece of software in existence so all you do is just follow the prompts and fill in the relevant data like date, time, name etc.  At one point there will be internet settings,  the PS3 has a broadband ethernet port at the back of the unit, so I just stuck my wireless in and the console just auto-detected the connection type and automatically configured everything, instant internet capabilities, which impressed me a lot as I had braced myself for the worst.

After a short setup period, the console was ready to be used and the first thing I tested was Dark Knight BD, the image quality is sharp and rich but I must say that I find the video quality of both Blu-ray movies and games to be rather grainy.  I guess you’re meant to sit a certain amount of distance from the screen and at about two metres away you can’t see the graininess so it doesn’t really matter.  The same graininess is present on Killzone 2 and Motor Storm – Pacific Rift so I’m going to assume that that’s just how it is.  However the menu screen is perfectly sharp.  as a PC vet I’m used to video and games that are crystal clear, my video card is connected to the same monitor via DVI and games like Lost Planet, DMC4 and Street Fighter 4 have no noticible grain whatsoever.  I haven’t really messed around with the image settings though so maybe I can get better results.  Some forums recommend turning off anything that supposedly assists picture quality, and to change the colour output to RGB so I’ll give that a try, then again my contrast settings might just be too high (feel free to leave a comment if you’ve experienced something similar or know of ways to improve picture quality).

It felt kind of strange to play games that don’t have graphics settings, and I must admit that being able to play any game at the intended optimal level is a wonderful thing indeed.  The one thing that I noticed the most about games on the PS3, is a lack of anti-aliasing, perhaps I’ve just been spoilt (I have a Sapphire HD 4870 in my PC and it has awesome AA abilities) with PC games, however the PS3 games look amazing, especially Killzone 2 and considering that the console offers out-of-the-box gaming, I think I can overlook that minor detail.  A concern of note is the firmware updates, by default the PS3 slim ships with version 2.76 but there have been many reports of the 3.0 update bricking consoles (though Sony fixed this with the 3.01 update) and since the updates aren’t mandatory I think I’ll be sticking with the current version for as long as possible.

I haven’t suddenly turned into a Sony fanboy/zealot, I still feel that PC games (as far as graphics are concerned) are superior but the question is, how much are you going to pay in order to play those PC games at their optimal level?  I’ve spent over 20k on my PC and there’s still games it can’t handle at the optimal level.  But gaming isn’t just about graphics, Killzone 2 (while looking amazing) is great fun, as is Motor Storm – Pacific Rift.  My main reason for purchasing the PS3 is Killzone 2 and Final Fantasy XIII, and the Blu-Ray player played a large role in my decision-making too.

Another plus is the fact that the machine is near-silent when in operation, the old PS2 had quite a noisy fan if I recall although one concern that’s been floating around is that the new slim model may overheat.  I had the console running for over four hours last night and experienced no problems whatsoever.  I’m also very happy that the mirror top finish of the 80Gig version (though pretty) has been replaced with a matt finish as the previous mirror finish just wasn’t practical, attracting dust and being a fingerprint magnet.  The 120Gig HDD allows you to store, movies, photos, music as well as updates and of course your save games so it was really an apt choice of words when they said; “PS3 – It only does everything.”

PROS:

  • The new slim version is cheaper and has a 120Gig HDD
  • Blu-Ray Player
  • Plays all games out of the box at the optimal level
  • Near-Silent operation
  • The games
  • Region free games (though game add-ons are region specific)

CONS:

  • Not the final word in game graphics (lack of anti-aliasing)
  • Still expensive as far as consoles are concerned in South Africa
  • HDMI cable not supplied
  • Games are ridiculously expensive (shop around).
  • Blu-Ray capabilities are still region specific
  • Unreliable firmware updates (potentially hazardous to the console)

Update:

(03-10-’09)

After doing a bit of tweaking I discovered that by disabling AV Mode on the Samsung T260, it will remove the grain on both Blu-Ray films and games, while doing this works great for movies, the same can’t be said for games.  Even though the graininess is gone, the image quality appears to be dark and there’s a lot of pixel smearing (everything looks fuzzy).  At the end of the day, consoles are made for TVs, so if possible rather buy an HD TV for the best experience.

(05-10-’09)

Unfortunately the new PS3 console is not backwards compatible with PS2 games, though oddly enough, it is able to play PS1 games.  I tested Final Fantasy IX and it worked brilliantly.