Stories by Tracey Capen

Kodak EasyShare CX7430

SAN FRANCISCO (03/26/2004) - If simplicity is a virtue when it comes to digital cameras, the Eastman Kodak Co. EasyShare CX7430 outclasses most of its competition. Kodak gave this camera just the few controls needed for basic snapshot photography, and added text-based help prompts so that even the most neophyte photographer can work through them after a little instruction. Another clue to this camera's lack of complication is its documentation: Though it's fairly comprehensive, the instructional information is only 39 pages long.

Quick take: More than a good gig (of music)

SAN FRANCISCO (10/27/2003) - Want to carry 1.5GB of music in an MP3 player about the size of a deck of cards? The US$300 Rio Nitrus from Rio Audio, a division of Digital Networks North America Inc., is one of the best units I've tried. I stuffed over 17 CDs' worth of music into the tiny hard drive-based player and got over 13 hours of playback on a charge. And there were no skips or stutters either, whether I was jogging or biking on rough roads. Further, the device's wedge shape helps it slide easily and comfortably into almost any pocket. On the downside, this player uses various combinations of jog dial, menu selector button, and joystick to maneuver through all that music. But the liquid crystal display is a bit too small to view all these choices. If you buy this player, be prepared to spend time on your PC drawing up multiple playlists.

Casio Exilim EX-Z3

SAN FRANCISCO (10/06/2003) - WHAT'S HOT: When turned off, this sleek, silvery, metal-clad camera fits easily into a shirt pocket, making it the perfect size for a carry-along camera. On such a small camera, the EX-Z3's 2-inch LCD display is monstrously large; it makes composing photos, reading menus, or reviewing your results a pleasure, even in bright sunlight.