Console game pad offers shock and tilt technology...

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January 17, 2000

Console game pad offers shock and tilt technology

Saitek, the Hong Kong-based company known for affordable yet impressively well-designed joysticks and electronic games, has introduced the first console game pad to integrate both shock and tilt sensor technologies.

The PSX3000 ($49.95) for the Sony PlayStation gives your hands a vibrating jolt in concert with the action on the screen. Many games don't have "vibration" function compatibility, but the PSX3000 has a "Trigger Driven Rumble" setting that will engage the shock effect whenever you hit the pad's triggers. The tilt feature sends leftright and forwardback commands to a game as you move the game pad in those directions. These combined features create a slightly more immersive gaming experience.

True to Saitek's great reputation, the PSX3000 doesn't stand on these slightly gimmicky features alone. The pad is well designed, easier and more comfortable to use than the Sony and other game pads. It can operate in analog or digital mode. In digital mode, the PX3000 emulates a standard PlayStation game pad. Analog mode activates an onboard thumb-controlled joystick.

The PSX3000 also has a throttle wheel between its handgrips that's easy to reach with your thumb. Combining the tilt, throttle wheel and joystick provides a higher level of game control than similar game pads do.

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

-- Gareth Branwyn

Olympus digital camera features great zoom lens

The Olympus D-450 Zoom ($500) isn't the cheapest digital camera you can buy, but with cheaper models, you'll sacrifice some of its great features. Topping the list is the 3x optical zoom lens. Many cameras advertise "digital zoom," but that feature sacrifices resolution. The true optical zoom on the D-450 makes it a standout and justifies its slightly higher price. It takes great close-ups and the image quality is fantastic.

The camera has the features that people have come to expect, such as a sharp 1.8" color LCD screen that acts as a viewfinder and review panel. The review mode can display up to 16, so you can pick the shots you want to keep, or you can print all your photos as thumbnails for easy cataloging. The camera has red-eye reduction flash, auto-focus, a self-timer and other useful features.

The D-450 also sports direct video output (to TV or VCR) with a slide show mode so you can easily show those family reunion photos on your TV. Pictures are stored on a bundled 8MB SmartMedia card, which holds 28 high-quality (1,280 x 960 pixel) images or 95 lower-quality (640 x 480) shots, with compression. You can enhance this limited capacity by buying extra SmartMedia cards of from 8 to 32 megabytes.

My only complaint about the D-450 Zoom is the clunky interface -- navigating the nine ponderous symbols on the camera is a chore, at least in the beginning. Also disappointing is the lack of an AC power adapter. The way this (and all) digital cameras burn through batteries, it's definitely worth getting the adapter, and some rechargeable batteries.

The D-450 Zoom has made me a digital convert. I'm not going to miss the cost of film and processing, or the hassle of dealing with my local photo shop.

Information: 800-645-8130 or www.olympus.com.

-- Nate Heasley

For reviews and news of computers and consumer electronics, check www.streettech.com

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