Blaze HDTV Tuner, Compare Office, CorelDAW Suite X4, Canon IXUS 80IS

Blaze HDTV Tuner
Price: $99.95

It’s likely we’ll all be watching TV either on or via a PC at some point in the future, and the Blaze HDTV tuner is a good introductory step. There’s room for improvement on the performance, but to be fair there are many variables. The six inch tall antenna isn’t quite the analogue antenna array that’s been on your roof for fifty years and your location in digital TV transmission coverage also plays a part.

Setup was easy and fast. You simply connect the tuner via a USB port, connect the antenna to that and install the software. It scans channels at your prompting, and only found three for us — all version of Channel Ten digital and HD, which is again about location. We got a very clear HD picture but terrible lag and stutter.

The Blaze software also lets you capture, record and playback live TV (Tivo style), so if you’re thinking of taking the plunge, do a bit of experimentation and research about signal strength where you are first. 2/5

Canon IXUS 80IS
Price: $379

Canon has radically repositioned themselves as a consumer lifestyle provider with the new IXUS range, releasing it in a range of classy colours with the burnished metal body. It’s extremely compact, measuring just eight by five by two centimetres, and it’s very easy to control and use. The device has all the usual automatic features like focus and flash control and wields a few newer ones like automatic face recognition technology and in-camera red eye correction.

The snaps we took at the highest resolution were extremely high quality and you have room for plenty of them on the 1GB memory card that comes with the 80IS. It’s not the cheapest entry-level camera, but it’s a good place to start to explore the range of possibilities in digital photography. And in a refreshing move, the accompanying software is available for both Mac and PC. 4/5

Compare Office 2008
Price: $149.95

Low cost Microsoft Office competitors are a dime and dozen, and Compare Office does a great job emulating the tools, look and feel you’re familiar with.

It asks you during installation if you want to associate all your usual Microsoft Office file formats with Compare Office, meaning you’ll be opening .doc and .xls files in it instead of Microsoft’s version, but that’s a handy addition if you want to avoid Microsoft Office and simply use an alternative.

It contains tools for all the usual office programs like word processing, spreadsheeting, presentations databasing and also has a drawing application. It isn’t like most of the drawing tools you’re used to on a PC and will present something of a learning curve, but for the low price and breadth of functionality, Compare Office is a good buy. 4/5

CorelDRAW Graphics Suite X4

The Corel publishing and graphics suite is positioned squarely between the other applications in the field, Microsoft Publisher at the consumer end and Adobe Creative Suite or Quark Xpress for the high-end pros.

The CorelDRAW application is a line drawing and page layout application, and if you’ve ever used Adobe Photoshop you’ll be comfortable finding your way around the pixel-based photo manipulation tool, PhotoPaint. If you’re a small graphics studio with fairly simple output or a hobbyist with fairly deep pockets, the suite will put a very capable set of tools at your disposal. 4/5

Full client and publication list:

  • 3D Artist
  • APC
  • Auscam
  • Australian Creative
  • Australian Macworld
  • Australian Way (Qantas)
  • Big Issue
  • Black Velvet Seductions
  • Black+White
  • Bookseller & Publisher
  • Box Magazine
  • Brain World
  • Business News
  • Business NSW
  • Campaign Brief
  • Capture
  • Cleo
  • Cosmos
  • Cream
  • Curve
  • Daily Telegraph
  • Dark Horizons
  • Dazed and Confused
  • Desktop
  • DG
  • Digital Media
  • Disney Magazine
  • DNA Magazine
  • Empire
  • Empty Magazine
  • Famous Monsters of Filmland
  • Fast Thinking
  • FHM UK
  • Film Stories
  • Filmink
  • Follow Gentlemen
  • Geek Magazine
  • Good Reading
  • Good Weekend
  • GQ
  • How It Works
  • Hydrapinion
  • Inside Film
  • Loaded
  • M2 Magazine
  • Marie Claire Australia
  • Marketing
  • Maxim Australia
  • Men's Style
  • Metro
  • Moviehole
  • MSN
  • Nine To Five
  • Paranormal
  • PC Authority
  • PC Powerplay
  • PC Update
  • PC User
  • PC World
  • Penthouse
  • People
  • Pixelmag
  • Popular Science
  • Post Magazine
  • Ralph
  • Reader's Digest
  • ScienceNetwork WA
  • SciFiNow
  • Scoop
  • Scoop Traveller
  • Seaside Observer
  • SFX
  • Sydney Morning Herald
  • The Australian
  • The Retiree
  • The Sun Herald
  • The West Australian
  • TimeOut
  • Total Film
  • Video Camera
  • Video&Filmmaker
  • Writing Magazine
  • Xpress
  • Zoo