Cyborg 3D Digital Pad gives gamers choicesSaitek continues...

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September 20, 1999

Cyborg 3D Digital Pad gives gamers choices

Saitek continues to impress, this time with its new Cyborg 3D Digital Pad ($49.95). As does its older sibling, the Cyborg 3D Joystick, the Pad combines cutting-edge design with oodles of customizable features.

The Cyborg 3D Pad looks like a cross between an airplane yoke and a traditional game pad. It has both analog and digital controls and a mode switch that lets you toggle between settings for arcade, flight and driving games. Excellent software with an easy-to-use interface allows you to customize the Pad's buttons and triggers. It also has a database of predefined settings for many popular games.

The Pad has a dizzying variety of options, including functions that provide a mini-joystick, a rudder/steering wheel, four triggers, six fire buttons, and an eight-way directional thumb pad.

The design is smart, a piece of functional high-tech art. Adjustable palm grips on the sides provide a comfortable fit for most hands. All of the controls are within reach.

If you're a hardcore gamer who's always on the lookout for new game gear that can give you the edge on the virtual battlefield, racetrack or in an online dogfight (and help alleviate your "Tetwrist" at the same time), the Cyborg 3D Pad is worth a test drive.

Information: 310-212-5412 or ww.saitekusa.com

-- Gareth Branwyn

Low-cost film scanner has shortcomings

Minolta's Dimage Scan Dual ($450) is an affordable film scanner that accepts 35mm slides and negatives. It has a resolution of 2,430 dots per inch, which works out to about 24MB of data for a 35mm frame. This provides a much higher resolution than any digital camera you can buy without mortgaging your home.

At 3 inches by 6 inches by 10 inches, the Dimage Scan Dual is about the size of a thick external hard drive sitting on its side. The film holder slips into an opening on the front. Unfortunately, it's an open hole. There's nothing to keep dust or moisture out of the mechanism. This is a poor design choice, because the slightest contaminant is visible in the scan.

The Dimage Scan Dual driver software also falls short. You can't scan a portion of an image as a preview; there's no way to save default color settings, and there's no provision for batch scanning. Nor is there a sharpening function, a major flaw in a scanner that doesn't let you adjust focus.

That said, the Dimage Scan Dual does a good job with the actual imaging. The scans are a bit dark, but image quality is fine otherwise. By tweaking the settings in the prescan window, it's possible to get great scans.

If price alone is your most important criterion, the Dimage Scan Dual performs well with a little effort on your part. There are only a few scanners in this low-end price range, so your choice is limited. Serious shutterbugs shouldn't be discouraged -- there are much better film scanners out there; you'll just have to pay a lot more for them.

Information: 800-962-2746 or www.minoltausa.com

-- Andrew Sasaki

For reviews of these and other high-tech gadgets, point your Web browser to www.streettech.com.

Pub Date: 09/20/99

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