As far as all-in-one devices are concerned, the FRITZ!Box is a monster. It contains pretty much everything you'll ever need in a home or small home office networking device. It's an ADSL2+ modem, a router, an Ethernet switch, an 802.11n dual-band Wi-Fi access point, a firewall, a VoIP device, a content filter, a file and printer server, and it's even optimised for Internet video streaming (for FetchTV). All this means that you won't need to use multiple devices, which would end up hogging your power points and desk space; there also won't be a complicated setup procedure involved.
The engin oneHUB is a wireless router, ADSL2+ modem and telephony device all rolled into one unit — hence the name. It's available to purchase for $99 when you sign up with an engin ADSL2+ plan, but it will also work with non-engin ADSL2+ plans.
The Plantronics .Audio 355 PC headset combines a comfortable pair of entry-level headphones that deliver good quality audio with a flexible microphone.
The Logitech ClearChat Premium is a PC gaming and VoIP headset that does everything it is designed for — it’s acceptable for listening to MP3s, it recreates game audio well, and the microphone is good enough for chatting.
Featuring a folding design and boasting DSP digital audio, the Plantronics .Audio DSP 400 is a headset designed for listening to voice, music and games on your PC. Though it's very portable, its construction won't be to everyone's taste and the ear cups leave your ears hot and uncomfortable.
The Plantronics CS70N allows you to take calls on a desktop phone through a wireless Bluetooth headset. Consisting of a base station and a Bluetooth headset, as well as an optional handset lifter, the CS70N is ideal if you are constantly away from your desk but still need to remain in touch.
D-Link's DPH-120S resembles a standard landline telephone in almost every way. A corded handset attaches to a simple base unit. It's a basic unit that emphasises functionality rather than style. The phone isn't dual-mode, offering solely VoIP through either a LAN connection or a direct PC connection using one of the two available Ethernet ports on the device. The phone's features are fairly basic and include speakerphone, speed dial, phone conferencing, voicemail and basic phone book functionality.
With the Gigaset C470IP, Siemens combines Voice over IP (VoIP) and PSTN functionality in a dual-mode phone with a bevy of features that should suit the typical home user. Support for six different handsets and three simultaneous calls over the handsets also make it a viable option for a small office or busy house.
With dual-mode phones dominating the home sector of the VoIP market, Linksys' SPA962 snubs the home consumer in favour of business-focussed approach. A pure VoIP phone, the SPA962 offers administration via an embedded Web server, support for six SIP-based extensions, and customisation by the end user, making this a fantastic option for a company-wide switchover to VoIP.
New exploits against VoIP continue to emerge, but experts say these demonstrations reveal the need for vigilant security and are not fatal flaws to the technology.
Boasting a padded headband and ear cups and a rotating, noise-cancelling microphone, Logitech's ClearChat Comfort USB is a headset designed for PC voice and video recording. Although it's a reasonably effective device, the design of the ear cups means your ears will often be left hot and uncomfortable.
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PCW Evaluation Team
A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.
I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.
As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.
I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.
Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!
For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.
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