Sony Cybershot Pro DSC-F828

I’m been keeping an eye on this product since it was announced late last year. I’m pretty happy with my current Sony Cybershot DSC-F707 but it’s starting to get a little limiting for me as my needs as an amateur photographer have changed.


What makes this camera so droolworthy is it’s new 8 megapixel resolution, new Sony Real Imaging processor (with 4 colors) and the fact that it supports Memory Stick and Compact Flash types of media. The 7x optical zoom and brand new Carl Zeiss lens is also a very attractive feature. I also like the use of a more usable hotshoe for the flash.

More info can be found here.

Sony has finally released a new MiniDisc specification that pushes the ailing MD format into the spotlight again. There are a few things that makes this device so compelling.


First of all, the biggest splash is the new Hi-MD format which uses a new 1GB optical disc. This increases MD’s by a factor of 6. At a maximum, the 1GB disc can hold 45 hours worth of music. At the best quality (virtually exact CD quality), the Hi-MD can play for 8 hours which is pretty good for people who are sound quality freaks. Hi-MD also boosts the MD’s transfer rate to 9.83Mb/s (up from 1.25Mb/s) for Hi-MD discs and to 4.37Mb/s for older MDs.

The second huge thing that’s brand new for MD technology is the fact that Hi-MD uses the FAT file system which allows the older MD and newer Hi-MD discs to be used as versatile rewritable PC media. The new Hi-MD players will complies with USB’s Mass Storage Class allowing the units to be recognized by most modern operating systems without requiring a driver.

The Hi-MD discs will cost around $7 which is phenomenal for small removeable media at 1GB. Owners of older MDs can still use their discs and can actually get more out of them than before. The old MDs only held around 177MB. Reformatted in Hi-MD mode, the older discs will hold 300MB of data. At only $2 a pop, that’s pretty good.

This was actually released a month ago but I’m only getting around to adding this. I really like the idea of this product as it gives you portable audio on the go and a decent amount of storage space on cheap replaceable media. 1GB is a lot of space and should be fine for many tasks. As one invested in MD technology and media, this is a great new move that’s sure to keep MD alive.

Of course, I’ll have more updates in the future should I add one of these to my collection of gadgets.

Sony raises the bar…X505

Sony has been on the forefront of design in the PC world although we don’t always see it here in the US because of different market trends. Although most people think Apple is the leader in innovation when it comes to notebooks, they are nowhere close to the Japanese when it comes to miniaturizing things. Sony’s latest designs based on the Pentium M chips show a sign of new innovation coming from Sony. First you had the Z1 series and then you had the TR series. Both models were super light and had very nice design and styling. However, Sony has used the same materials for a while. They were one of the first to use magnesium alloy in notebooks to make them stronger and lighter. Apple made news when they started using titanium and aluminum based frames. Now, Sony finally releases something new that marks a “first” in the PC world. The X505 Note Extreme edition with CARBON FIBER body. Yeah, that’s the same light but incredibly strong material used in performance cycling and tricked out cars (NASCAR included). Actually not the whole body is made up of carbon fiber (as that would be crazy expensive). The lid is carbon fiber and the rest of the body is made up of magnesium alloy and high-grade plastic.


The PCG-X505/SP model is the carbon fiber model that is around 1.7lbs in weight. This one will set you back a healthy $3200+.

The PCG-X505/P model is similar as it uses nickel strengthened carbon weighing in at 1.8lbs. Bargain priced at $2750+.

Both models have the same specs:
· 1Ghz Intel Pentium M
· 512MB of DDR
· 20GB hard drive
· 10.4” XGA screen
· 1 x Cardbus slot
· 2 x USB 2.0 ports
· 1 x Firewire (iLink) port
· VGA out (needs adapter) - also acts as LAN port
· Includes Wireless G PC Card (no built-in wireless)
· Includes a USB mouse that also has a memory stick slot
· Carrying case for the notebook and accessories
· Recovery CD (although it has no optical drive included)
· 2.5-4 hours of battery life

You can find more information and specs here:

The specs are good and in line with their TR series but it’s designed to be super minimalist. It’s really a lot more like the SR series (optical drive-less) since it has the same screen size. Interestingly enough it uses a trackpoint instead of the trackpad. The reason for that is because the space above the keyboard houses the harddisk, CPU and memory. Don’t forget, this little machine is 0.38 inches tall (9.7mm) at it’s smallest to 0.82 inches (21mm) at it’s highest. The battery life is ok. I’m sure Sony will release some sort of enhanced battery to double the life.

These are pricey toys and we probably won’t see these in the US since the American market tends to go for cheaper things and not highly refined products like these. I’m sure importers like iCUBE will be carrying this for a premium. Still, it’s nice to know that there is still some daring and innovation going on…too bad it’s only Sony who is doing it. I’d like to see a lot more companies work on usability and aesthetics. Dell’s recent commercials about how they spend a lot of time on design makes me laugh. Dell’s designs are better than before but their notebooks (while nicely configured and priced) leave little to be desired in terms of looks and weight. For some reasons, a lot of these companies don’t realize that people are willing to spend more on a notebook if it looks good and has good specs. Why do people go crazy over Powerbooks and VAIO notebooks? On the PC side, there is a reason why Sony Notebooks are #1 in sales (especially on the higher end)...people are willing to spend more on quality and something that’s going to be a joy to use.

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