Epson's PhotoPC 800 takes sharp photos, saves audio messages
Epson's PhotoPC 800 ($699) is a major new contender in the world of digital photography. It's loaded with remarkable features and takes absolutely gorgeous pictures.
The 2-megapixel camera offers three user modes, with fully automatic point-and-shoot capability for beginners and increasing levels of control for intermediate and expert shutterbugs. It even has a built-in microphone, so you can amend the adage to read: "A picture is worth a thousand words ... plus a 10-second voice message."
An 1.8-inch LCD screen lets you compose, view and delete your shots. You can display your images on a TV or multimedia projector via a Video Out port, or transfer them to your PC via a serial or USB port. You can upload pictures, text, and graphics into your camera and play them back for presentations.
The camera prints directly to several Epson inkjet printers without going through a PC.
The PhotoPC 800 package includes cables, batteries, battery charger, soft camera case, hand strap, and an 8 MB CompactFlash memory card that holds 24 fine-resolution or 120 standard-resolution images.
The biggest problem I found is that the camera eats batteries for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Even though it has a power-saver mode and automatic shut-off, you have to change batteries after every CompactFlash card is full.
I recommend the Epson PhotoPC 800 to anyone in the market for a top-quality digital camera. Just make sure you're ready to buy batteries in bulk; unfortunately, that's true of most high-resolution digital cameras with LCD monitors.
Information: 800-463-7766 or www.epson.com.
-- Alberto Gaitan
C Pen 200 scans copy, stores information
It's hard not to be impressed with what the C Pen 200 (above) has to offer. About the size of two jumbo highlighters, the $200 Swedish import allows you to scan in printed text (used as if you were wielding a highlighter), create text by making letterforms with the pen (as you would with a regular pen) and store a database of up to 200 names and addresses.
You can use it as a personal digital assistant (PDA) to store your contacts (which can be uploaded from Microsoft Outlook) and keep notes. As a portable text scanner it can record passages from books or recipes from the newspaper. It also is a great way to scan in business card information and transfer it to your address book.
One of the most interesting features of the C Pen is its ability to beam data back and forth between a laptop (or any PC equipped with an infrared port). There are editing capabilities on the pen, but most likely, you would want to upload text to your computer and correct the inevitable scanning errors there.
Despite C Pen's capabilities, it's still hard not to feel constrained by its limitations. It has some PDA functions, but it's not a PDA -- no appointment function, no calendar. It's also somewhat finicky about scanning text: You have to move it slowly over a flat surface and have a clearly printed original.
It's a promising technology, and this version of the pen will definitely find a market, but we hope that as the device is improved, it will fit more easily into day-to-day activities. The good news is that the C Pen software can be upgraded via the infrared computer link, so as better software is developed, your pen can benefit from it.
-- Gareth Branwyn
For full reviews of these and other gadgets, visit www.streettech. com.
Pub Date: 09/06/99